Overcoming Barriers to Student Access and Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools
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This episode of the LEGAL ONE Podcast includes a review of the seminal case on determining whether a parent can immediately bring a civil suit in federal court under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 or must first exhaust administrative remedies under IDEA, which in turn has major implications in terms of liability exposure and how quickly legal issues can be pursued in federal court. Specifically, Fry addressed whether plaintiffs were required to exhaust IDEA administrative remedies before pursuing claim under Section 504 and the ADA in a case involving denial of access for a service dog. The Supreme Court held that exhaustion of administrative remedies is required when the crux of the plaintiff’s suit is a denial of a FAPE, which is the only relief available under IDEA. If the gravamen is something other than a FAPE denial, exhaustion is not required. The Court developed a three-part test to assist in making this determination. The podcast reviews this test and provided analysis and examples to understand how it would apply in various scenarios. Finally, the podcast includes a discussion about how schools and parents can effectively work together to ensure access to facilities for students with disabilities.