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Decision Number
J.W., J.W. & A.W.
[] CSD and Keystone AEA
Full Text

On May 19, 2015, [J.W. & J.W.] filed a due process complaint with the Iowa Department of Education, pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. ?? 1420, et seq. They were allowed to amend their complaint to add A.W. as a party. On June 4, 2015, the Respondents filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the Complainants lack legal standing to pursue this action because their child is now an adult ([A.W.] attained 18 years of age in [ ] 2013), who is not the ward of any guardianship. The motion also alleges that the two year statute of limitations in the IDEA expired on May 26, 2015, and that no violations of the IDEA were alleged after May 26, 2013.

A dispositive order granting the Respondents' motion to dismiss was entered on June 30, 2015. The bases of the order were twofold: standing and the statute of limitations.

Standing: This complaint was filed when A.W. was no longer a minor. [A.W.] is not the subject of a guardianship. The right of his parents, among other things, to file a due process complaint, transferred to A.W. when he attained the age of majority (18 years) in [ ] 2013. 20 U.S.C. ? 1415(m)(1); 281?IAC 41.520. Once a transfer of rights occurs, absent a guardianship where the former child is a ward, the parents no longer have standing to file a due process complaint. The parents did not ask for relief specific to themselves. They argued that they were the ones who "worried about [A.W.'s] rights all along." The IDEA does not permit compensatory damages for emotional injuries. [Mr. & Mrs. W.] have no standing to be complainants in this matter.

Statute of limitations: 20 U.S.C. ? 1415(f)(3)(C) provides that a complainant shall request an impartial due process hearing within two years of the date the complainant "knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint." In the normal course of a due process action, the statute of limitations would be tolled two years after [A.W.] graduated from the school district. The graduation date was May 26, 2013; the original complaint was filed May 19, 2015. Thus, the actionable period was May 19 ? 26, 2013. However, the Complainants alleged that the statute of limitations was not tolled in this case because the LEA withheld information from the parent ? specifically, the notice of transfer of rights provided for in 20 U.S.C. ? 1415(m); 281?IAC 41.520.

The notice of transfer of rights is one of the procedural safeguards instituted by Congress "to ensure that children with disabilities and their parents are guaranteed procedural safeguards with respect to the provision of a free appropriate public education by [school districts and area education agencies]." 20 U.S.C. ? 1415(a). The safeguards also include written prior notice to parents of an identified child designed to fulfill the foregoing purpose. However, these safeguards are predicated on a child being identified as an eligible child. Because [A.W.] needed only related services and not special education, [A.W.] was not a child with a disability. The procedural safeguards did not apply to [A.W.] or his parents.

281?IAC 41.1003(7)"d" mandates the granting of a motion to dismiss when the relief sought "is beyond the scope and authority of the administrative law judge to provide." Here, the sole person with standing, [A.W.], has no claim that falls within the two year statute of limitations. There is no relief that this tribunal can provide.