The school district appealed to the 10th Circuit court, where it was joined in a friend-of-the-court brief by the National School Boards Association and the state school boards' groups for five of the six states that make up the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah. (Wyoming is the sixth state in the circuit.)
"School districts should not be responsible for unilateral residential placements made for medical purposes," the NSBA brief says. "Such responsibility is not only beyond the range of their competence and funding but also exceeds the requirements of the IDEA."
Meanwhile, the parents drew the support of the Obama administration, with the U.S. Department of Justice filing a friend-of-the-court brief on their side that was also signed by a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Education.
"This court should join the majority of circuit courts of appeals and adopt a test that a school district is liable under the IDEA for the cost of a residential placement, less the cost of medical treatment that can be provided only by a licensed physician, if the child's mental-health needs are so significantly intertwined with his or her educational needs that educational services cannot be provided without some mental-health treatment," the federal brief says.