Oberti v. Board of Education

Argued March 9, 1993 - Decided May 28, 1993


  • After a year of behavioral problems in a New Jersey kindergarten, the school district decided that Rafael Oberti -- a 5-year-old with Down Syndrome -- would be permanently moved to a special education class in a different district.
  • Rafael's parents objected, wanting him to be mainstreamed as early as possible.

The Ruling

  • The court decreed that the school district had "failed to establish ... evidence that Rafael could not at that time be educated in a regular classroom with supplemental aids and services."
  • The court insisted that the school district develop a more inclusive program for Rafael (per IDEA).
  • Encouraged taking techniques from special education schools and applying them to an integrated classroom.

Triumphs and Concerns

  • Ensuring that special education students receive appropriate education in their least restrictive environment.
  • School districts must provide substantial evidence that a special needs child cannot be satisfactorily educated in a regular classroom.
  • One of the chief concerns is that a special education student with behavioral issues might detract from other students' quality of learning.

Reference: Oberti. (2010, June 29). Retrieved September 11, 2013, from http://kidstogether.org/right-ed_files/oberti.htm