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5 N.J.A.R. 152

A.N.v. Clark Bd. of Ed.
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Citation: 5 N.J.A.R. 152
Decision Date: 1982
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: A.N., a multiply handicapped 13 year old boy, attended out-of-state schools and treatment centers from March 1982 until January 1983. The child's father sought to obtain an order compelling his local board of education to pay for continuing 12-month residential costs and to reimburse him for prior residential costs under the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, 20 U.S.C.A õ 1401, et seq. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that A.N was brain damaged upon birth and had had considerable difficulty in the day school programs in which he had been placed at the direction of the school board's child study team. In January 1982, A.N.'s father became frustrated with the unsuccessful day placements and became convinced that A.N required a residential placement; A.N was placed in a residential program that spring and his father accept- ing all responsibility for expenses. A.N.'s father subsequently con- tacted his school board which approved payment of $657 per month for A.N. After an unsuccessful stay at this school, A.N was transferred to another residential program specifically designed to modify severe behavior disorders. The local board refused payment for this program claiming that A.N needed only an appropriate program for the emo- tionally distrubed in a day school setting. The administrative law judge concluded that on the basis of the proofs presented, it was impossible for him to determine which of A.N.'s handicapping conditions was primary and thus he concluded that A.N could not be classified solely as emotionally disturbed but needed a program for a multiply handicapped young adult. In ad- dition, the judge determined that A.N. needed an intensive behavioral modification program all of his waking hours and accordingly de- termined that a residential placement would be the least restrictive placement appropriate for him. State of New Jersey 153 A.N.v. Clark Bd. of Ed. The judge rejected the board's argument that a jury trial was re- quired on the question of reimbursement for residential expenses. Noting that both Federal and State law were silent on the topic, the judge concluded that he must determine if A.N.'s residential place- ment had been voluntary in order to determine who bore responsi- bility for costs. The judge concluded that such placement had not been voluntary and accordingly ordered the Board to pay the reimburse- ment costs.
Rule(s) Cited: 6:28-1.1 et seq. 6:28-1.2 6:28-1.8 6:28-1.8(f) 6:28-1.9 6:28-2.2 6:28-4.2 6:28-4.3 6:28-4.8