Panoramic IDEA: Cabining the Snapshot Rule in Special Education Disputes

By Jennifer N. Rosen Valverde. 

In special education disputes, post-hoc evidence—i.e., evidence that was not available to a school district at the time it acted, failed to act, or made the decision at issue—matters. For many families of children with disabilities, post-hoc evidence is the primary and, in some cases, only proof that a school district violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), which guarantees students with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education. Exclusion of this evidence deprives children with disabilities and their parents of their due process rights and remedies, with disproportionate adverse effects on families with limited financial means. Despite the critical function that post-hoc evidence plays in demonstrating an IDEA violation, some circuits bar its consideration in certain types of special education disputes via the judicially created “Snapshot Rule.” Full Article.