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SEC Prevails for Adult Student

This article appears in the Fall 2011 CLINIC NEWS.

The Special Education Clinic (SEC) obtained a five-year compensatory education settlement for a now 22-year old client with severe learning and language disabilities. This is on top of two years of compensatory services the student, C, received during the negotiations process.

C was 19 when he sought the SEC’s assistance in 2009. Despite years of special education services, C’s reading, math and language skills fell at a first grade level. Since an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting requested by the SEC failed to resolve the situation, Clinical Law Student Jessika Lusk ’10 drafted and filed a due process petition covering the district’s failure to provide C with an appropriate education for 13 years. Two unsuccessful mediations followed.

At the first hearing, the parties agreed to toll the statute of limitations to try to negotiate a settlement. The district also agreed pay for independent evaluations and to provide C with intensive, individualized instruction. Meetings followed, during which C’s progress was monitored and the SEC helped C obtain assistive technology services and vocational support.

Marci Kutschman ’11 assumed the case in Fall 2010. C had just received his high school diploma and wanted to continue his education. Marci researched vocational programs that could build on his automotive interests and meet his learning needs. C was accepted into one such program and the district agreed to pay for one semester and continue providing daily reading tutoring. C took two courses in Spring 2011. He received a B and a C – a remarkable achievement for a young man who, two years earlier, could not read beyond a first grade level.

In July 2011, the parties entered into a settlement. The district agreed to pay for C to complete the automotive technology program, including transportation and associated fees, and provide supportive services, and C waived his right to sue for more compensatory education. The settlement was entered into a Court Order in August 2011.