irving independent school district v tatro

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Special Ed. Case law


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Irving Independent School District V. Tatro 1984:

By: Steven Tolles Holly Wagner Diana Irving Independent School District V. Tatro 1984

Who is Amber Tatro?:

Who is Amber Tatro? Amber Tatro was a young girl who lived in Irving Texas She suffered from a disease called spina bifida. She was to receive special education services

What was the Problem?:

What was the Problem? Spina Bifida caused Amber to require Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC) This process would have to be performed at school by school personnel.

Parents’ Perspective*::

Parents’ Perspective*: Our daughter, Amber, is eight years old. She was born with spina bifida, and must work hard to overcome orthopedic and speech impairments every day of her life. * implied by the literature and inferred by this group’s members

Parents’ Perspective::

Parents’ Perspective: For Amber’s kidneys to function properly, she must be catheterized every 3 – 4 hours. This procedure is called Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC). CIC is a simple procedure, and it takes less than an hour to teach a layperson how to do it.

Parents’ Perspective::

Parents’ Perspective: A doctor is not needed to perform CIC. Therefore, CIC is not a medical procedure under the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1975.

Parents’ Perspective::

Parents’ Perspective: We believe that CIC is a “related service”. Without CIC, our child cannot benefit from the special education services to which she is entitled!

Parents’ Perspective::

Parents’ Perspective: "Related services" are defined as "transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, and medical and counseling services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a handicapped child to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of handicapping conditions in children." § 1401(17)

School Official’s Perspective*::

School Official’s Perspective*: I am an official in the Irving, TX Independent School District. Amber Tatro is an eight-year old student in my district. *implied by the literature and inferred by this group’s members

School Official’s Perspective::

School Official’s Perspective: Amber is challenged by orthopedic and speech impairments. She qualifies for special education services.

School Official’s Perspective::

School Official’s Perspective: Amber has a neurogenic bladder. This requires that she receive Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC) every 3 – 4 hours. We feel that CIC is a medical procedure.

School Official’s Perspective (implied)::

School Official’s Perspective (implied): We are educators, not medical personnel. We are concerned that our staff’s lack of medical training could result in injury to Amber. Our staff may be hesitant to perform a medical procedure as part of their job responsibilities. Our staff may be hesitant to provide a service that is outside of their area of expertise and interest. We do not have a physician on staff to supervise this procedure. Is there a potential medical risk to the child and a related liability issue to our district?

To Court…:

To Court… Irving School District did not feel CIC was a related service to education. Amber Tatro’s parents felt CIC was a related service and took the district to court.

District Court Decision:

District Court Decision The District Court ruled in favor of the school district. CIC was not a related service to Amber’s education. The school had not violated Public Law 94-142 or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The Appeal:

The Appeal The Tatro family appealed the District Court’s decision. The case went to the US Court of Appeals where the District Court’s Ruling was overturned .

District Court II:

District Court II The District Court reversed it’s decision. It found that: -CIC was a related service under Public Law 94- 142 -The district had deprived Amber of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

So What was Done?:

So What was Done? Due to the Court’s decision Irving School District provided Amber with CIC during the School Day. The court also ordered that Irving School District had to pay for the Tatro’s legal fees.

Case Implications:

Case Implications PL 94-142 states that schools can provide medical services to diagnose and evaluate, CIC is not a medical procedure. According to the District court under Texas law any qualified person can perform CIC without taking part in unauthorized practice of medicine (if the procedure was proscribed by a doctor). Since a doctor was not needed to do CIC it was not a medical procedure and not excludable under the PL 94-142.

Case directly linked to the case Irving Independent School District v. Tatro:

Case directly linked to the case Irving Independent School District v. Tatro Garret F is a boy who is paralyzed from the neck down. He uses a ventilator that requires cleaning during school hours. The district argued it was a medical procedure, but it was found it was a “related service” because it could be done by a nurse or other trained staff. “if a physician must supply a service, it is “medical” and therefore excluded. Alternatively, if a nurse or other qualified layperson can perform a service the school must supply it” (Schaefer).


References The Oyex project, Irving Independent School Dist. v. Tatro, 468 U.S. 883 (1984). Available at ( 1983_83_558) (visited Monday, June 6, 2011) Wright, P.W.D., & Wright, P.D. (2010). Special education law:second edition. Hartfield, VA: Harbor House Law Press, Inc. 359 – 363. Washington Law Journal, Vol. 39; Individuals With Disabilities Education Act: “Related Services Versus Medical Services?

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