Timothy w.v rochester 1989
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Timothy w.v rochester 1989

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Timothy w.v rochester 1989 Timothy w.v rochester 1989 Presentation Transcript

  • Timothy W. v. RochesterSchool District: Can Anyonebe “Too Special” for Special Education? Sherwood Best, Ph.D. Professor CSULA 1
  • Timothy W. v.Rochester, New Hampshire School District 875 F.2d 924 (1989) Argued February 7, 1989 Decided May 24, 1989 2
  • Terms Shepardizing a Case – When you shepardize a case, you follow it all the way through the series of levels and stages of denial, appeal, affirmation, etc. If a case is not shepardized, the reader may falsely determine the case’s outcome, perhaps based on a lower court ruling that is eventually overturned. It is important to shepardize a case to make sure that it still has legal authority. The term comes from Shepard’s Citations for Cases3
  • Terms Remand – To send back. A higher court may send back a ruling to a lower court with directions from the higher court. EAHCA – The Education of All Handicapped Childrens Act, also known as P.L. 94-142. Zero Reject – No “excludable” individuals under EAHCA. 4
  • Background The mother of Timothy W., a child with profound mental retardation and multiple disabilities, attempted to enroll him for special education services in his local school district in 1980. District personnel met to decide if Timothy was considered educationally handicapped. Four professionals recommended PT & OT as well as “stimulation.” Two professionals found Timothy to be “uneducable.” 5
  • BackgroundBased on this meeting, the schooldistrict denied educational servicesbecause he was “not capable” ofbenefiting from an education. Timothy was “too special” for special education!! 6
  • Background In May of 1982, the New Hampshire Department of Education reviewed the district’s program and found the district out of compliance. They did not recommend particular action. District personnel met again in June of 1983 to discuss this case and refused educational services. In response to a recommendation for educational services from a specialist in 1984, the district asks for more information. 7
  • Background Timothy’s mother filed a complaint with the NH Department of Education. They ordered the district to place Timmy within 5 days. On 10/31/84, the district filed an appeal. On 11/11/84, a compliant was filed in US District Court to seek an injunction to direct the district to provide services & pay damages. On 1/3/85, the US District Court found for the school district and denied the injunction. They suggested that Timothy’s mother exhaust her administrative procedures. 8
  • Background Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Education ordered a diagnostic prescriptive program for Timmy in a special program in the district. Timmy’s teacher prepared a summary report in which she contended that he would benefit from education. After further requests by his mother, Timothy was placed in a developmental center program and remained there until June of 1987. 9
  • Background The hearing officer engaged in the administrative hearings related to Timmy’s case determined that capacity to benefit was not a legally permissible standard for determining his eligibility. The school district appealed to the US District Court on 11/12/87 by filing a counterclaim. Timothy’s mother responded with a cross motion for a summary judgment to decide whether Timothy qualified as an educationally handicapped individual. 10
  • Background The district Court rendered its opinion on 7/15/88.“Under the EAHCA an initial determination as to the child’s ability to benefit from special education must be made in order for the handicapped child to qualify for education under the Act. The court held that this was an implicit part of the Act and only applied to cases where there was extreme disability.” Timothy’s mother appealed this case with a decision by the US District Court of Appeals for the First District. 11
  • Issues Was Timothy an educationally handicapped child under the ECHCA? If so, was he denied FAPE? Did the district court err in its ruling that Timothy W. could be excluded from special education? Can someone be “too special” for special education? 12
  • Applicable Law The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) requires: – Provision of educational services to all handicapped children, regardless of severity – Inclusion of basic functional skills as well as academic/cognitive skills The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) does not require: – Proof of benefit of education 13
  • Arguments - Plaintiffs The presumption that retarded children are un-educable & un- trainable lack a basis in fact. The district cannot deny educational rights to children with retardation, no matter how low they function. Anappropriate education cannot be determined to be no education. 14
  • Arguments - Defendants Timothyneeded to be able to demonstrate benefit from special education services in order to receive them. Timothy was deemed not educable or perhaps even trainable, therefore the school district was under no obligation to provide. 15
  • Holding Timothy was a handicapped child & therefore eligible for education under the EAHCA. Timothy’s right to FAPE had been violated.A handicapped child need not demonstrate benefit from special education in order to be eligible for that education. 16
  • Dicta The principle of Zero Reject was established via the Timothy W. case. Districts cannot avoid the provisions of the Act by returning to practices that were widespread prior to the passage of the Act. Should educational agencies by the parties responsible for expensive quasi-medical, quasi-educational services for students with severe disabilities? Stay “tuned” for the Garrett Frey case! 17
  • Court’s Orders Timothy W. was immediately placed in an interim special education placement until an IEP could be developed & agreed upon by all parties. The case was remanded to the district court to determine the issue of damages. 18
  • Implications - Special Education LEAs must re-evaluate what they mean by “education” LEAswill increasingly become responsible for providing and funding specialized health care needs and services to students with disabilities. LEAemployees must re-assess their jobs & legal protections. 19