Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I blogged on the Ingram case here. It's amazing the lengths to which football players will go to maintain their eligibility. It appears that David Ingram still could get a chance to play football this season, an administrative hearing officer with the Ohio Department of Education ruled yesterday. Ingram, a defensive tackle, sued the school district after he learned in August that he didn't pass an English class last spring. Ingram, who has a learning disability, saw his grade-point average drop under 1.0, which is the minimum required to participate in extracurricular activities. In the lawsuit, Ingram claimed that school officials failed to provide a tutor that the district makes available for special-needs students. In a separate attempt to restore his eligibility, Ingram filed an administrative complaint with the Ohio Department of Education requesting the school district provide Ingram "with services so that he can meet eligibility requirements to play this season." Yesterday, the administrator ruled that Ingram should be provided with a tutor. Of course, the school district could appeal, so the battle is not over. For more information on this case, click here.
Monday, September 27, 2004
All systems go
I have checked all of the links on this blog. They are all functioning, even those in the archives. Again, thanks to Stacy Weiss of Special Education News and Links for alerting me to the problem.
Banned From the Playground
What started as a playground spat between school officials and the parents of a child with autistic-like behavior could end up having repercussions for the way school districts treat children with neurological disorders. The parents of 9-year-old Jan Rankowski are suing Falmouth, Maine school officials for banning their home-schooled son, who has Asperger's syndrome, from the town's public playground. For more info, click here, here and here.
How Did I Miss This?
Well, somehow I missed reading "The Lessons of Classroom 506," from September 12, 2004's New York Times Magazine. If you haven't read this story about a boy with cerebral palsy going to kindergarten in a New York City public school, do so now.
Friday, September 24, 2004
The Burden We Bear
The Hunts wanted an extended school year for their son, Jason, who was diagnosed as having (1) double spastice him;legic cerebral palsy with greater right sided involvement and (2) delayed cognitive and communication development. The hearing officer held that he was not entitled to that relief. On administrative appeal, the Appeal Board overturned the hearing officer's decision and held that Jason was entitled to an extended school year so that he could obtain a free adequate public education. The School District sought review in federal court. The district court affirmed the decision of the Appeal Board, and the School District appealed to the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit held that the Appeal Board had committed legal error by failing to place the burden of proof on the proponent of an extended school year, i.e., the Hunts. The Court remanded the case to the district court for a full hearing on the issues raised by the parties, noting that the burden of proof of showing an entitlement to the extended school year program and the denial of FAPE should be placed on the Hunts. The decision in Kenton County School District v. Hunt can be found here.
Suit seeks special ed for child
A mother suing the School Board in Manatee County, Florida for failing to provide special education to her son will try to force the district to provide services while her case is under way. Parent Joanie Derry is suing the district because it ignored an administrative judge's order to provide special education for her son, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. For more information, click here.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Why the new look? One of my readers (who shall remain nameless) informed me that the black on white print was difficult for him (or her) to read. Since I want everyone in the world to be able to read my blog, I have made this change. I think the new look is pretty spiffy!
Learning-disabled athlete loses court bid for football eligibility
Defensive tackle David Ingram yesterday lost his bid to return to the Start High School football team for tonight's game against Whitmer, and likely won't play football again. Mr. Ingram, who has a learning disability, sued the school district after he learned in August that he flunked a required English class last spring. U.S. District Court Judge David Katz refused a request for a temporary restraining order against Toledo Public Schools to change Mr. Ingram's grade on an English exam and restore his academic eligibility. For more info, click here.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Special education law at a crossroads
This article from the San Antonio Express-New might be of interest.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Problems on the Blog
I've just been made aware that some of the links on the blog are not working. I am remedying the situation. If anyone has any problem with links on this site, please let me know. I want it to be as useful to my readers and visitors as is possible. Thanks to Stacy Weiss of Special Education News for giving me the heads up.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Well, I'm not sure how new it is, but it's new to me. Check out Special Education News. It's chock full of new about special education (hence, its name).
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
A school district entered into two settlement agreements with the family of a child with mild mental retardation and ADHD. Then it failed to comply with either of them, pushing off for months its responsiblity to provide compensatory services to the child. The mother of the child brought a lawsuit, alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. 1982, IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act (among other claims). The Court awarded the plaintiffs $10,000 in damages. Presumably, the district still has to provide the compensatory services although the Court did not discuss that. The decision in Reid v. School District of Philidelphia can be found here.
How Not To Do It
I don't know the plaintiff in Michael D.M v. Pemi-Baker Regional School District, and it may be that the hearing officer and District Court judge have him all wrong, but on reading the opinion of the Court of this case, I see the poster child case for not allowing attorneys' fees in IDEA cases (not that plaintiff got them in this case). The plaintiff's son is a high IQ child who suffers from ADHD and other learning disabilities. Despite these disabilities, he has done quite well in school, even taking honors classes in English and algebra. The plaintiff, however, according to the Court, has totally failed to cooperate with the district in putting together a workable IEP, and has basically been playing hardball with the district, filing various lawsuits, including one for defamation, seeking to have two special educators fired, and filing a discrimination claim against the district with the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. It appears from the decision that his son's ski team participation was at least as important to the plaintiff as his education. The Court noted that the son missed six days of school during a six-week period because of his participation on the ski team, that the plaintiff prohibited the district from reducing or eliminating his son's participation in the school team if he failed to do his homework and that the plaintiff had sought to have his son placed in a private school, including one that focused on skiing skills. It saddened me that anomolous cases like this will be trotted out to show that parents are cynically malipulating the law to obtain benefits to which they are not entitled, when the opposite is the case. The decision in this case, which was decided on August 31, 2004, can be found at the website for the District Court for the District of New Hampshire (you will have to do a search to find it).
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Show Me the Money!
The federal government owes cash-starved area schools a whopping $1.1 billion - and the check is not in the mail, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) charged yesterday. The city, Long Island and Westchester have been shortchanged $538 million that was promised to help schools meet the new federally mandated No Child Left Behind requirements, Schumer said.
Another $573 million is owed for special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
For more information, click here.