Commentary by Attorney Lawrence Berliner July 8, 2021
Today the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a July 10, 2020 lower federal court decision A.R. v. Connecticut State Board of Education that found Connecticut’s statutes and regulations, that limited special education through a student’s 21st birthday, conflicted with federal special education law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) permits students with disabilities to receive special education and related services through their twenty-second birthday, unless they have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma. For students who were exited from special education at age 21, without receiving a regular high school diploma, they may be eligible to receive additional special education services. For students who have not turned age 21 and have not graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma, they may be entitled to receive special education services through their 22nd birthday. The Connecticut State Department of Education should be issuing additional policy guidance letters for parents, students, and local school districts to implement this decision.
Parents and students, along with their advocates and attorneys, should celebrate this decision and the efforts of Disability Rights Connecticut to bring about this hard won victory.