Court Cases on Education
Mohawk Trail Regional School District v. Shaun D.
35 F. Supp. 2d 34 (D.Mass. 1999)
Shaun D. was initially a student in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District. He had a number of behavioral problems, including FAS, post-traumatic stress disorder, and pedophilia. Because of those problems Shaun was eligible for special education under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. For a number of years Shaun was part of a specially structured education program in the Mohawk Trail schools, including constant line-of-sight adult supervision.
Shaun's out-of-school behavior deteriorated, and he was placed in the Whitney Academy, a residential school for mentally retarded children with sexually offending behavior. The question in the case was whether the Mohawk Trail School District was obligated to pay the costs of the Whitney Academy. The School District argued that the primary reason that Shaun was there, his sexually offending conduct, was not an educational need, and that the IDEA did not require that placement. The court held that treatment of that conduct was sufficiently connected with educational programs that the School District was financially responsible for the cost of the Academy.
157 F. Sup. 2d 11 (D.D.C. 2001)
This is a suit brought by Philip Walker and his legal guardian, alleging that the District of Columbia public schools violated the Individuals With Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Walker had been in several special education programs in the D.C. public schools. The plaintiffs contended that school officials had violated federal law by misdiagnosing Walker as mentally retarded. Among the competing experts offered by each side, one defense expert concluded that Walker suffered from FAE. (157 F. Supp. 2d at 28). The court concluded that Walker had not been misdiagnosed. It is unclear whether the diagnosis of FAE played a role in the judge's decision.