Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Judge rules for Manatee schools

A federal judge sided with the local school district on October 8, 2004, denying a 10-year-old student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder access to a special education plan while the child's lawsuit works its way through the courts. The child's mother, Joanie Derry, is suing the Manatee County School Board, claiming her son needs the special education plan to maximize his academic potential. The school district claimed the child does not warrant a potentially costly special education plan because he already makes good grades and scores well on standardized tests.

The ruling, by Judge James Whittemore of the United States District Court in Tampa, specifically addressed a preliminary injunction filed by Derry's attorney, Timothy Weber of St. Petersburg. The preliminary injunction asked the court to force the district to give the child an individual education plan because an administrative law judge ruled in the child's favor after a four-day hearing in March. The administrative law judge, Daniel Manry, ruled the child was disabled and entitled to an individual education plan.

Attorneys for the school district argued, during a Sept. 23 hearing in front of Judge Whittemore, that they were appealing the administrative law judge's ruling and therefore the child should remain in a regular education program until the entire case was settled.

Whittemore agreed with attorneys for the school district.

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