U.S. Supreme Court
Irving ISD v. Tatro, 468 U.S. 883 (1984)
Irving Independent School District v. Tatro
Argued April 16, 1984
Decided July 5, 1984
Background:
The respondents’ eight year old was born with spin bifida. As a result, she suffers from a neurogenic bladder and has to be catheterized every three to four hours to avoid injury to her kidneys. To accomplish catheterization, a process called clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) was prescribed. The procedure is simple, can be performed by an amateur, and only requires less than an hour’s training. The petitioner School District received federal funds under the Education of the Handicapped Act, which requires every child be provided with “a free and appropriate education”, which is defined in the Act to include “related services”. An IEP was developed for the child, by the school, but made no provision for school personnel to administer CIC. The student’s parents also brought in to question, whether or not the school was in violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which forbids a person, by reason of a handicap, to be "excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under" any program or institution receiving federal aid. District Court held that CIC was a “related service” under the Education of the Handicapped Act and that the student’s IEP be modified to include provision of CIC during school hours, and awarded compensatory damages against the School District. The court further held that the student’s parents had proved a violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and awarded attorney’s fees; Court of Appeals affirmed.
Decision:
The high court decided with the lower courts that under the Education of the Handicapped Act, CIC is a service covered under a free and appropriate education. The procedure can be accomplished by a school nurse, which funding is provided to the school to provide one. What the court also decided was that Attorneys’ fees could not be recuperated under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when services can be provided under the Education of the Handicapped Act.
Impact:
Every child id entitled to a free and appropriate education even if the cost of providing services are expensive and or time consuming. Granted education some kids requires a sizable chunk of the school budget, taking away money from the education of many kids. This is not a valid excuse for excluding any child an education. Parents of disabled children want the same education opportunities for their children as every other child has. As the principle told Forrest in the movie Forrest Gump “Your ma ma cares a great deal about your education.”
Question: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically forbids any program or institution receiving federal aid of doing all of the following, by reason of handicap, except:
  1. Denying a student with a handicap benefits
  2. Excluding a student with a handicap from participation
  3. Subject a student with a handicap to discrimination
  4. Denial of medical treatment by faculty.





Kristin Whitley
Matthew Hotard