The Supreme Court Finds IDEA Exhaustion Not Required When Parents Seek Money Damages Under ADA and Section 504

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held today that plaintiffs may file federal lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 seeking money damages without first exhausting the IDEA administrative procedures, even when the underlying dispute is the student’s special education programming. As we previewed in a post following the oral argument, this decision is a departure from current Fifth Circuit law and opens the door to parents filing federal lawsuits seeking monetary relief in special education disputes without filing for due process under the IDEA. As explained below, whether this path is truly advantageous for parents is uncertain.

IEP Spotlight: Statement of PLAAFP and Why it’s so Important 

Over the summer, we posted about the importance of and tips for successful IEP implementation and progress monitoring. Today, we continue a series of articles focused on the components of a great IEP. In this post, we will discuss the foundation of the IEP: the statement of present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that IEPs include a statement of PLAAFP. If you’ve ever attended an ARD, you know that this statement is one of the first things covered. And with good reason: the statement of PLAAFP provides an overview of the student’s current functioning and baseline for new goals. Without a clear, specific, and individualized statement of PLAAFP, the IEP may be deficient. Keep reading to learn steps to ensure that every IEP is built on a solid PLAAFP foundation.

Thompson & Horton Launches New Special Education Law Blog

Thompson & Horton is excited to announce its newest blog: SpEd Law Spotlight. With a focus on Special Education law topics facing school leaders and educators, the blog will bring important updates on special education to school districts in Texas and beyond.

The blog will be authored by members of the Thompson & Horton Special Education team. Our team collectively has decades of experience helping schools navigate the intricacies of special education law, and is excited to bring you practical, timely insights on this dynamic area of law.

We encourage you to head over today to to check out the new blog. To sign up for our thought leadership email alerts, email us at Also, make sure to follow Thompson & Horton on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn so you will know when new articles go up. We already have updates on predetermination, FAPE, and child find duties in the works, that you won’t want to miss out on.