Cedar Rapids Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Garret F. by Charlene F.

526 U.S. 66, 119 S. Ct. 992 (1999)



The term "medical services" in 20 U.S.C.S. § 1401(a)(17) refers only to services that must be performed by a physician, and not to school health services. The phrase "medical services" in § 1401(a)(17) does not embrace all forms of care that might loosely be described as "medical" in other contexts. 


Respondent student, who was paralyzed from the neck down, attended school within petitioner school district. Respondent depended on a ventilator for life support. Respondent's mother asked petitioner to pay for the health care services that respondent needed to attend school, but the plaintiff claimed it was not responsible for providing the equipement. Thus, the mother filed suit to enforce financially responsibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide continuous one-on-one nursing services for respondent student. The court initially noted that under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, states received federal funds to provide disabled children with special education and related services. Petitioner argued that the related services that were required by the Act did not include continuous one-on-one nursing services during the school day. 


Was petitioner school district financially responsible to provide continuous one-on-one nursing services for respondent student?




The Court stated that under its prior interpretation, the medical services exclusion applied only to services that must be performed by a physician. The Court found that respondent's need for in-school services could be provided by a school nurse. In addressing petitioner's financial concerns, the Court determined that cost was not a statutory factor in the definition of related services or excluded medical services. The Court declined to engage in judicial lawmaking through adoption of a cost-based standard.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.