5th Circuit getting testy over Endrew F. and FAPE.

The 5th Circuit issued one of its “unpublished” opinions in Amanda P. v. Copperas Cove ISD.  “Unpublished” is a misleading term.  It’s published.  You can read it. However, it is not going to be published in the Federal Reporter, which is the official source for opinions that lawyers cite and judges rely on for precedent. 

It’s a short opinion in favor of the school district.  Without providing much analysis, the Circuit Court agreed with both the hearing officer and the lower court: the district did not violate IDEA procedures, and provided an education that satisfied the standards for FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education).  What’s noteworthy about the decision is the substance and the tone of the decision’s one and only footnote:

Amici curiae in this case battle over the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Endrew F. ex. Rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1 (2017), on our four-factor test for evaluating the sufficiency of a child’s program (first articulated in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD v. Michael F.  But this court has already held multiple times that the Michael F. factors align with the interpretation of FAPE outlined in Endrew F.

The footnote goes on to cite cases from Northside ISD, Houston ISD, and Spring Branch ISD, all of which say the same thing: that Endrew F is not a game changer in the 5th Circuit.  I think the message is: HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS?????

The 5th Circuit issued this decision on March 1, 2021, and it’s published at 2021 WL 794768.  I’m pleased to let you know that Copperas Cove was represented in this one by Jennifer Childress and Bridget Robinson from the law firm of Walsh Gallegos Trevino Kyle & Robinson P.C.  Note the name change!!  Bridget Robinson now represents the R in WGTKR! 


Tomorrow: Creative names for charter schools.