The Use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNR) in School Settings

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Publication Date


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Education Law Reporter


do not resuscitate, disabled students, special needs students, schools, individualized education program


The litigation involving DNRs and minors has not addressed the issues relating to students who have IEPs. The authority that parents have in making decisions about DNRs in hospital settings is blunted and defused in school settings where parents are only one part of the decision–making process for students. Would public school districts be expected to oppose parent judicial requests for a DNR and, if the parents are successful, would that DNR simply be superimposed on a student's IEP? If an IEP team opposes a parent's DNR and refuses to include it in an IEP (assuming that such discretion is permissible), would the school be required to reimburse the parent for their cost of placing the child in a medical facility that will adhere to the DNR? In the absence of a congressional amendment to the IDEA that expressly authorizes the DNR as part of the special education process, should the IDEA's purpose in including children with special needs in the regular academic setting be viewed as antithetical to the design and implementation of a DNR?


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