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Irving Independent School District v. Tatro (1984)

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Jasleen Sawhney

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Irving Independent School District v. Tatro (1984)

by Jasleen Sawhney Irving Independent School District
v. Tatro (1984) Background •Amber Tatro was an 8-year-old girl diagnosed with Spina Bifida
o Orthopedic and speech impairments
o Neurogenic bladder (unable to empty her bladder voluntarily)- was prescribed to be catheterized every three or four hours to avoid injury to her kidneys
o Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC) is a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the urethra in order to drain the bladder
-This procedure is simple and takes only a few minutes to be done by a person who has less than an hour’s training (non-medical)
•1979- When Amber was 3 ½ years old, the Irving Independent School District provided Amber with early childhood development classes where she received physical therapy and occupational therapy as required by her IEP
o Her IEP made no mention of Amber's need for CIC services during the school day Court of Appeals Tatro v. Texas Amber Tatro’s parents were unsuccessful in trying to acquire CIC services for Amber during the school day
• October 1979- the Tatros brought the State Board of Education to the District Court, hoping for an order to incorporate CIC services into Amber’s IEP, along with compensation for damages and attorney’s fees
o Under the Education of the Handicapped Act (now IDEA), the school was required to provide Amber with a “free and appropriate public education” and “related services” (in this case, CIC)
o 504 of The Rehabilitation Act (1973)- forbids an individual from being “excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under” any program receiving federal aid because of a handicap Tatro v. Texas, (Tatro II) •Irving Independent School District argued that the Education of the Handicapped Act’s provision stated that “medical services” could only qualify as “related services” when they served the purpose of diagnosis or evaluation. •The district court rejected the request for a preliminary injunction, claiming that:
o CIC was not a “related service” because it did not serve a need directly related to her education
o 504 of the Rehabilitation Act did not require “the setting up of governmental health care for people seeking to participate” in programs that were federally funded •The Court of Appeals reversed the verdict of the Tatro v. Texas case, claiming that:
o CIC was, in fact, a “related service” under the Education of the Handicapped Act because Amber could not attend classes and benefit from special education without CIC services
o The school’s refusal to provide CIC services caused Amber to be excluded from a federally funded educational program and was therefore a violation of 504 of the Rehabilitation Act •The District Court held that under Texas law, a nurse or other qualified person (ie. trained school personnel) may administer CIC provided that a doctor prescribes and supervises the procedure
o Because a doctor was not needed to administer CIC, this procedure was not considered a “medical service” (Education of the Handicapped Act)
o CIC was deemed a “related service” and so the District Court ordered Irving Independent School District and the State Board of Education to modify Amber’s IEP to include CIC provisions during school hours.
•The District Court found the school guilty of violating 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
o Called upon the school and State Board of Education to award attorney’s fees (as authorized by The Rehabilitation Act) to the Tatro family Tatro v. Texas, (Tatro II) conclusion Irving Independent School District v. Tatro was an important case to the field of special education because it addressed the issue of “related services” as defined by IDEA in relation to students requiring medical services in order to receive a “free and appropriate public education”. It required the court to provide definitions for "special education" and "related services".

During this case, it was also determined that IDEA is a more significant act than RHA. References http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/ussupct.tatro.htm
Yell, M. L., Ryan, J. B., Rozalski, M. E., & Katsiyannis, A. (2009). The U.S. Supreme Court and Special Education: 2005 to 2007. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 41(3), 68-75. District Court's Verdict
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