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U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of family that sued Douglas County School District

WASHINGTON -- The United States Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in favor of a Douglas County family with a special-needs child.

That family claimed their fifth-grader with autism was not getting the education he was entitled to in a Douglas County public school.

After failing to reach an agreement with the district, the parents chose to place "Endrew F" in a Denver school specializing in the education of children with autism.

They pursued established channels in the school district for reimbursement of his tuition under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Their attorney argued it's not enough for school districts to get by with "minimal instruction" for special-needs children.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in their favor this week. The decision sets a higher standard for how public schools must educate students with disabilities.

The Douglas County School District said it never used a minimum standard.

"In this case, the Douglas County School District offered an appropriate Individualized Education Plan and we look forward to proving to the lower courts that the IEP meets the new, higher standard," the district said in a statement.

It's a ruling that could affect millions of families who have children with special needs.