Fed appeals court rules in favor of Maui student

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal appeals court panel says the state Department of Education violated the law by holding a meeting to change an autistic Maui student's educational plan without involving his parents.

Thursday's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion says Hawaii violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when Spencer Clark was moved from Horizons Academy, a private special education school, to Maui High School. The law allows special-needs students to receive a free education at private schools.

The change was made during a meeting that his father wasn't able to attend and had tried to reschedule.

The case returns to district court to determine whether his parents can be reimbursed for tuition at Horizons Academy.

Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe says the education department is reviewing the decision.

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