From American Bar Association: (click for full article)
In 2006, the New York State Board of Regents – the entity that supervises all educational activities within New York State – promulgated a regulation prohibiting schools from using aversive interventions on their students. Aversive interventions are negative consequences, such as manual restraints or electric shocks, that are administered to students who engage in severely disruptive behavior that impedes their education. A group of parents and legal guardians of children with severe behavioral problems, including aggressive and self-injurious behaviors like head-banging, yanking out their own teeth, and assaulting teachers, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York to challenge this ban. All of these plaintiffs’ children receive residential special-education services at a Massachusetts school that employs aversive interventions. Because the Board of Regents’ prohibition applies to New York State students who are receiving special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in approved out-of-state residential schools, the prohibition means that these students cannot receive aversive interventions. The plaintiffs contended that this ban violated the IDEA (by preventing their children from receiving truly individualized educational programs), as well as their children’s constitutional rights to substantive and procedural due process and equal protection. The district court dismissed their case, and the plaintiffs appealed.
District Judge Sullivan, sitting by designation, dissented from the court’s affirmance of the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ IDEA claim, though he agreed with the rejection of the constitutional claims. He asserted that there was insufficient evidence in the record, as it now stood, that aversive interventions should be prohibited, and that it would be more appropriate to remand the case to the district court for development of a fuller record. To read the whole opinion, please visit http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/1053951b-1776-4a83-8c79-97657ffb2c1c/3/doc/10-4029comp_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/1053951b-1776-4a83-8c79-97657ffb2c1c/3/hilite/.