E.R. v. Stroudsburg Area School District, 120518 FED3, 17-3600

Docket Nº:17-3600
Opinion Judge:BIBAS, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:E.R.; I.R., SR., individually and as parents and natural guardians of I.R., JR., a minor, Appellants v. STROUDSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT; COLONIAL INTERMEDIATE UNIT 20; SUZANNE DELLORUSSO
Judge Panel:Before: HARDIMAN, KRAUSE, and BIBAS, Circuit Judges
Case Date:December 05, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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E.R.; I.R., SR., individually and as parents and natural guardians of I.R., JR., a minor, Appellants

v.

STROUDSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT; COLONIAL INTERMEDIATE UNIT 20; SUZANNE DELLORUSSO

No. 17-3600

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

December 5, 2018

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) on September 6, 2018

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 3-16-cv-01593) District Judge Honorable Malachy E. Mannion

Before: HARDIMAN, KRAUSE, and BIBAS, Circuit Judges

OPINION [*]

BIBAS, Circuit Judge.

A litigant need exhaust only the claim he appeals, not all claims that arise out of the same conduct. Here, student I.R., through his parents, challenges an Individualized Education Program issued by the Stroudsburg Area School District in June 2015. The parents argue that the Program does not provide a free and appropriate education, as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires. They first brought this claim in a state agency. But when the agency upheld the Program, they sought judicial review in federal District Court. The parents also tacked on two federal claims that they had not brought before the agency. The District Court dismissed their entire complaint, holding that they had failed to exhaust their administrative remedy. But the parents did exhaust their claim as to the June 2015 Program; the agency decided that it sufficed under the Act. And they properly appealed that challenge to the District Court. So we will reverse in part.

I. Background

A. Facts

I.R. has an intellectual disability, a speech impairment, and an autism-spectrum disorder. After his family moved to Stroudsburg, he started fourth grade in a special-needs classroom at Colonial Intermediate Unit 20.

His transition was rough. I.R. has a history of behaving aggressively in school. He has bitten, kicked, and scratched both teachers and peers. But at Colonial, it was a teacher who harmed him. Suzanne Dellorusso pushed, choked, dragged, slapped, and improperly restrained I.R. Through October and much of November 2014, she responded to his misbehavior with force.

A few months later, Dellorusso was criminally charged with abusing I.R. Once I.R.'s parents learned of the abuse, they removed him from the classroom where it occurred and agreed to transfer him to another school in the Stroudsburg District. And because they worried that any...

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