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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

District violated child find by its singular focus on grade level benchmarks

Central School District v. K.C., 61 IDELR 125 (E.D. Pa. 2013): A federal district court awarded compensatory education to a child with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and partial reimbursement to his parents, as a result of a school district’s failure to meet its child find obligations.

The student, despite his average to above-average intellectual abilities, struggled academically and received increasingly significant accommodations and general education supports to help him meet his grade level benchmarks.  Due in part to such accommodations and supports, the student made progress towards those grade level benchmarks which the school deemed sufficient.  The parents referred the student for a special education evaluation, but the school district delayed doing so and, when the evaluation finally occurred, found the student ineligible for special education.  After the parents, on their own, obtained an independent educational evaluation (IEE) and presented it to the district, the student was classified as a student with a disability.  The parents filed a due process complaint, and the hearing officer found that, notwithstanding the student’s progress towards grade level benchmarks, the school had sufficient basis to conduct an evaluation much earlier than it did.  Therefore, the student was entitled to compensatory education for special education he should have received sooner, and the parents received partial reimbursement for a summer program in which they unilaterally enrolled the student.  The district court upheld the hearing officer.

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