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School district violated Child Find obligations by not evaluating student it assigned to alternative school due to behavioral issues.

D.G. v. Flour Bluff Independent School District, 56 IDELR 255 (S.D. Tex. 2011):  A U.S. District Court held a school district violated its Child Find obligations when it failed to evaluate a student under the IDEA after the district assigned the student to an alternative school due to his significant behavioral issues.

The student, who was privately diagnosed with ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome, began to exhibit significant behavioral issues beginning in the Fall of his ninth grade school year.  As a result, the district assigned him to an alternative school and required that he have 31 “successful” days (i.e. – days without a behavioral incident) at such alternative school before returning to his regular placement.  The student was so assigned multiple times throughout the school year, but despite the repeated behavioral concerns and the fact that he received private diagnoses of ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome, the district did not evaluate the student pursuant to the IDEA until October of his tenth grade school year.

The Court determined that the student’s behavioral issues, as well as his private diagnoses, gave the school district reason to suspect he had a disability, thereby obligating the district to evaluate the student under IDEA.  By waiting approximately a year from the manifestation of the behavioral problems before conducting an evaluation, the district’s evaluation was untimely.  Accordingly, the Court awarded the student a year of compensatory education.

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