WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today let stand a ruling that prevents a 9-year-old handicapped New York girl from attending school because of the high cost of medical care in a ruling that could force more disabled pupils to study at home.
The justices refused to hear an appeal brought by Melissa Detsel seeking review of a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
At issue is whether federal law requires schools to provide medical care for all disabled students or limits treatment to the basic aid a school nurse could offer a handicapped pupil.
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 encourages disabled children to attend school and, when possible, to take classes with non-handicapped students.
The school board in Auburn, N.Y., felt the medical care needed for Melissa, who breathes with a ventilator and eats through a tube, would exceed the capabilities of its nurse and declined to pay for the treatment.