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K.M. ex rel. Bright v. Tustin Unified School District, 725 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 1493, cert. denied sub nom. Poway Unified Sch. Dist. v. D.H. ex rel. K.H., 134 S. Ct. 1494 (2014)
The rights of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in public schools derive primarily from two federal laws: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II of the ADA). The IDEA requires public school districts to provide disabled children, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, with a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Under IDEA, a FAPE necessitates the development and implementation of an individualized education plan (IEP) for each disabled child addressing his or her unique needs. Meanwhile, Title II of the ADA and its effective communications regulations prohibit public schools from discriminating against deaf and hard-of-hearing children and require schools to ensure that these students have access to effective communications. In K.M. ex rel. Bright v. Tustin Unified School District, the Ninth Circuit considered the interplay of these two laws and held that a public school’s provision of a FAPE to a hearing-disabled student (as required under IDEA) does not automatically mean that the school has complied with Title II of the ADA.