The ruling comes in the case of a 16-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa boy. Garret Frey was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident when he was 4 years old and is confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator.
By a 7-2 vote, the court said such continuous nursing care is not considered medical treatment, and therefore must be publicly funded under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District must now pay thousands of dollars a year to provide nursing care for Frey, a high school sophomore.
School administrators and special education advocates nationwide had been watching the case closely.