Law Offices of H. Jeffrey Marcus P.C.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
9th Circuit affirms child find violation
COMPTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT v. ADDISON, 07-55751 (9th Cir. 3-22-2010): The child at issue received very poor grades and scored below the first percentile on standardized tests during her ninth-grade year in 2002-2003. The school counselor attributed Addison's poor performance to common "transitional year" difficulties. Remarkably, the counselor did not consider it atypical for a ninth-grader to perform at a fourth-grade level. The District Court held in favor of the parent, finding that the district should have classified the child. The District appealed arguing that the IDEA did not provide for the right to due process under these circumstances–i.e. where a district did not propose or refuse to initiate a change regarding a student's identification, assessment, or placement. The Court affirmed noting that the IDEA must be read as a whole to avoid absurd results. Citing to Forest Grove, the Court explained that a "reading of the [Individuals with Disabilities Education] Act that left parents without an adequate remedy when a school district unreasonably failed to identify a child with disabilities would not comport with Congress' acknowledgment of the paramount importance of properly identifying each child eligible for services." Finally, the Court noted that “§1415(b)(6)(A) states that a party may present a complaint "with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child."