Lubbock-Cooper Sweeps a Doubleheader

A special education hearing officer ruled against Lubbock-Cooper in two cases involving siblings.  One decision was 36 pages long, fortified by 327 footnotes. The other was 34 pages long, with 292 footnotes.  The analysis by the hearing officer was long, but it was also wrong. The federal court reversed both of these decisions.

In both cases the court noted the extensive efforts by LCISD staff to collaborate with the parents. Key  Quotes:

The District relates that it spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with complaints by L.D.’s parents in relation to other parents and students involved in the ARD process.  The record clearly shows that L.D.’s parents were involved in the ARD process and, in fact, helped write the goals and plan for L.D.’s successful year in education. 

…the record shows substantial compliance with the statute’s notice provisions occurred and the parents participated in the lengthy ARD meetings and clearly knew what was going on in relation to the entire process and often dictated and/or controlled the process.

And here’s my favorite quote from this case:

Regardless, the IDEA was not adopted as a “gotcha” procedural trap for those attempting to properly educate students.

Much of the first case was about whether or not the student should  have been identified as having a learning disability. The district carried the student as OHI (Other Health Impaired) and served him in the mainstream.  There the student did very well:

The record indicates, and it is undisputed, that L.D. obtained an “A Honor Roll” average (with the exception of one 89 average in a class) for the relevant school year period (August 2016-May 2017).  Further, L.D. attained this commendable achievement while being educated in the mainstream non-special education classroom setting.

That’s why the school people believed the student did not qualify as SLD. The court agreed.  It’s unfortunate for the district that it had to take this one to the federal court to overturn the erroneous rulings by the hearing officer.  A student who is achieving well in general education classes in all subjects does not demonstrate the kind of “underachievement” or “pattern of strengths and weaknesses” that is characteristic of a learning disability. 

The cases are Lubbock-Cooper ISD v. Sherri D. and Dennis v. Lubbock-Cooper ISD, both decided by the federal court for the Northern District of Texas on March 1, 2019.  We found them at 74 IDELR 17 and 18.   


Tomorrow: Can we now boycott Israel?