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Ogden Couple Loses appeal Over Son's Schooling

Ogden Couple Loses appeal Over Son's Schooling

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal appeals court on Monday ruled against an Ogden couple who had claimed the Utah public school system was lax in addressing their concerns about their learning-disabled son's education.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court in Denver -- upholding decisions by a hearing officer, a state education panel and a trial judge -- held that the Ogden School District had adequately complied with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, or IDEA.

"It is clear that Ogden provided specialized instruction and related services that were individually designed to provide N.C. (the couple's son) with educational benefit," the court said in its ruling.

It also rejected a claim by the couple that the hearing process on their complaints violated federal law because it took 13 months, instead of the required 45 days. The federal education act allows for time extensions, the court said.

IDEA mandates an education for all children regardless of the severity of their disability. Under the law, the school and parents create an individual plan covering what special services the child will receive.

The law also entitles parents to an impartial hearing if they believe the school has not met its obligations.

The couple -- identified in court as L.C. and K.C. -- asked for a hearing in September 1996, when they felt the plan for their child wasn't working. They said they expected quick action, based on IDEA timelines, but it took so long that N.C. fell behind in class and had to be placed in a private school.

After a hearing officer ruled in favor of the district and the decision was upheld by a state panel, the couple sued in March 1998 seeking reversal of the rulings and compensation for their private school expenses.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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