Failure to Respond to Bullying May Deprive Student with a Disability of a Free Appropriate Public Education

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In T.K. v. New York City Department of Education, one of the first federal court cases to address the issue, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that “an effective and appropriate education may be negated by child bullying.”

In a lengthy decision that outlines the history and effects of bullying, the court reached the conclusion that “[b]ullying and inappropriate peer harassment in its many forms provides an unacceptable toxic learning environment.” Therefore, the court found that a parent may maintain a claim under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) based on child bullying.

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