In the process of upholding the decision of the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) in favor of the school district, the court noted the basis for the ALJ’s conclusion that testimony from school officials was more credible than the testimony from the parent’s experts. The court noted that both sides presented good witnesses:
Each side presented well qualified witnesses who contemporaneously assessed the child’s educational, behavioral, and psychological needs.
So why were the school’s witnesses more credible? For the usual reasons…
….the Parent’s child psychologist, Dr. Rao had never observed R.S. in school; had only interviewed R.S. in her office; and never even read R.S.’s IEPs. Likewise, the ALJ found that the Parent’s education expert, Mounce, based her opinions on her limited interaction with R.S…..In contrast, the ALJ underscored that MCPS witnesses more reliably grounded their opinions in formal assessments, records review, and personal observations.
It's R.S. v. Smith, decided by the federal court for the state of Maryland on August 17, 2021. It’s published in The Special Educator at 79 IDELR 135.
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