Judge: 1,800 Hawaii Special Education Students Eligible for More Services
Hawaii must provide free educational services to more than 1,000 young adults with disabilities who aged out of the state's education system.
The ruling, from U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway, stems from a 2013 decision, E.R.K. v. Hawaii State Board of Education, from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Hawaii, which has a single school district serving the entire state, enacted a regulation in 2010 barring both general education students and students in special education from attending public school past the age of 20. The plaintiffs argued successfully that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act allows students with disabilities to stay in school through age 21.
Mollway ordered the state to turn over the names and last-known addresses of students who aged out of public education under the old law, and about 1,400 have been contacted so far, according to news reports.
Students would not be returning to their former high schools under the judge's orders. The additional educational services might include job training, life-skills classes or college courses.