A federal appeals court said a mother failed to exhaust administrative remedies before she sued a school district for isolating and restraining her autistic child.
Kristine McCauley sued Francis Howell School District, alleging that teachers put physical restraints on her boy at school for two years before she found out about it. She then removed her child from the district and sued under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other laws.
A trial judge dismissed her case and the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that she first should have sought a due process hearing under the Act.
"McCauley's voluntary decision to remove J.M. from school, and thus seek only compensatory and punitive damages rather than compensatory education services, does not exempt her from the exhaustion requirement," the court said in J.M. v. Francis Howell School District.