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Monday, September 5, 2011

Bullying and FAPE

The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon) reports on a bullying case that does not directly involve autism but does address an issue facing the entire disability community:

The mother of a middle school student has filed a federal lawsuit against the Harrisburg [Oregon] School District, alleging that its educators failed to accommodate her son’s Tourette’s syndrome or to protect him from bullying and assaults by other students.

The complaint, prepared by Tigard attorney Kevin Brague, seeks unspecified economic and noneconomic damages for alleged violations of the boy’s civil rights over a period of three years.

It accuses the district of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress by allowing other students to taunt, push and strike him because of their perceptions that he was gay.

The suit also accuses the district of disclosing the boy’s confidential personal information and education records to the general public without his consent.

And it says the district failed to follow — or even tell some teachers about — a special education plan to accommodate his disability.

Back on May 10, Doug Goldberg wrote at the Special Education Advisor blog:

In a landmark United States District Court decision, Judge Jack Weinstein has ruled that bullying can cause a child with a disability to be denied a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The case, T.K. versus New York City Department of Education, established a legal test that can be applied to future cases in the Eastern District of New York. The lengthy 51 page decision not only established a baseline test on whether bullying can deprive a child of FAPE but it also analyzed the current standards discussed in the 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 9th Court of Appeals. The methodology used by these four Courts is not uniformed leading the way for a potential Supreme Court case regarding IDEA and bullying in the future.