Hearing officers and courts deciding special education cases often apply what I call the “unwritten rule” of special education litigation. They quietly assess the comparative reasonableness of the parties. That seems to be the reason that the school prevailed in a case from North Carolina. The court found that the parents—not the teachers--were responsible for the increase in the student’s inappropriate behavior, noting that the parents intentionally withheld the student from attendance until after noon each day so that he would miss his core special education classes.
The court noted that the record showed that “IEP meetings were lengthy; they also tended to be contentious and emotional, with plaintiff talking very loudly, interrupting others, and arguing over miniscule things for hours.” This was probably a factor in the court’s ruling against the parent on the retaliation claim. The court noted that the school had a legitimate reason to issue a no-trespass letter and then to seek its enforcement when the parent violated it.
The case is Coleman v. Wake County BOE, 76 IDELR 5 (E.D.N.C. 2020).
DAWG BONE: “ARGUING OVER MINISCULE THINGS FOR HOURS.” LET’S TRY TO AVOID THAT.
Tomorrow: Law Day!