On February 24, 2000, we met with a special education attorney on behalf of our son, Teddy, who has Aspergers and at the time was a third grader placed in a self-contained Emotionally Conflicted classroom. We could no longer simply ask the school system to do the right thing. We had been doing so for a year and a half to no avail. So, we went nuclear. It was sad, pathetic really, that we had to hire an attorney to get the school system to do their jobs and do right by a child.
Later that day, the following law suit was sent to the State Superintendent of Education. I have typed the paperwork exactly, only changing the names and omitting the name of our school system. By doing so I wish to share with readers what a due process suit looks like, the charges filed and the remedies requested. It is my hope, if you are the parent of a child needing services, that this is the only special education law suit you will ever see.
Teddy v. County Board of Education
Please be advised that this firm represents Charlotte and Neal (hereinafter “Petitioners”) and their son, Teddy relating to the child’s educational program in the County Public School System (hereinafter the “System”). Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 1415(f). I am hereby requesting an impartial due process hearing due to the System’s failure to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as reauthorized in 1997 and Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Specifically, the System has failed to provide Teddy with a free appropriate public education as set forth in more detail hereinafter. The undersigned reserves the right to amend this request for an impartial due process hearing to identify additional issues after she has had an opportunity to review the student’s complete educational record.
I am by copy of this letter providing the System with notice of this request for an impartial due process hearing. I am also hereby requesting that within 10 days of hereof the System provide me with a complete copy of any and all records in its possession of whatsoever nature relating to the Petitioner, including but not limited to, audio tapes, video tapes, reports, records and documents of any kind held or stored by the System, by any teacher, administrator or any agent of the System.
The system has failed to comply with the requirements of IDEA during the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000 in each of the following respects:
(1) failed to prepare and implement an Individualized Education Program, including goals and benchmarks which address this student’s needs, (2) failed to prepare and implement an individualized behavioral intervention plan which is appropriate to this student’s disability, (3) failed to provide for and/or to implement modifications and/or accommodations in the regular educational setting to allow this student to have access to the general curriculum and a free appropriate public education, (4) failed to provide related services including counseling and parent and teacher support to address behavioral issues, (5) failed to provide a behavioral aide or other personnel to assist in allowing the student to have access to the general curriculum, (6) placed this child in an environment which was inappropriate and detrimental to his behavioral issues, (7) failed to take any action to remove the child from an inappropriate environment, and (8) failed to provide personnel who were appropriately trained and knowledgeable about this student’s needs.
The following relief is sought in this case:
(1) the preparation of an IEP under the supervision and direction of an individual who has demonstrated expertise and academic training relating to autism and training and expertise relating to the preparation of IEP’s, (2) the preparation of an IEP which addresses all identified areas of need, including but not limited to social, behavioral and academic needs and incorporates the student’s present levels of performance, delineates measurable benchmarks which relate to the present level of performance, identifies with specificity the individual responsible for teaching the skill and specifies in detail the manner in which the assessment will be conducted, (3) preparation of an individualized behavior intervention plan under the supervision and direction of an individual with expertise in autism, (4) preparation of an IEP which incorporates appropriate accommodations and/or modifications required by this student’s disability, (5) provision of related services, including instruction and/or counseling for parents and teachers to allow them to address this student’s needs and counseling for the student, (6) provision for an aide with adequate training and expertise in the area of autism, (7) placement of the student in the regular classroom, (8) training and ongoing in-service support for the regular classroom teachers and administrators provided by an individual with demonstrated expertise and academic training relating to autism, (9) reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of the system’s failure to provide a free appropriate public education, and (10) establishment of a reporting process and timelines which allow the parents access to individuals with sufficient authority to require building personnel to implement this student’s IEP.
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the State Administrative Code please appoint a due process hearing officer to hear this case and render a decision within the forty-five day time period required under Federal law. Please notify this office, by facsimile transmission, of the case number assigned to this case and the name of the hearing officer as soon as it is assigned.
Next: It is not without anguish that such a move is made.
Thanks, as always, for reading. It means so much to me that you are here because maybe, by reading and sharing our stories, we can be the difference we want to see in the world. Last fall, when I began this blog and wondered would anyone ever read it, a dear friend posted a comment that lifted my spirits and kept me going…
If everyone would light just one little candle… what a bright world this would be… Press on.
And press on I do.
With a grateful heart,