Just how far does a public school have to go to ensure that a physically disabled student gets the health services he or she needs during a school day? Does the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require the school to pay for one-on-one care by a health professional? Those are the questions before the Supreme Court in a case the Academy felt compelled to weigh in on.
At the heart of the case, Cedar Rapids Community School District vs. Garret F is a 15-year-old boy who has been a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent since a motorcycle accident 11 years ago. Garret needs continual assistance throughout the day with his daily health needs, such as suctioning his tracheostomy and monitoring his ventilator. Garret's pediatrician said the teen-ager needs a trained person to be with him at all times.