Alert! Appeals Court Upholds Four Years of Compensatory Ed - Draper vs Atlanta Public Schools
Carol Sadler, Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188
Information contained in this communication is confidential and privileged. It is not meant to represent legal or medical advice, but rather advice given based on my knowledge as a trained Parent Advocate by the GA Advocacy Office, Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys, CHADD, LDA, the GA DOE Parent Mentor program as an invited guest and the special education attorneys that I often work with on educational matters. Please do not forward without my permission.
Published on: 03/10/08
A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that Atlanta Public Schools pay up to $152,000 to send a student long misdiagnosed as mentally disabled to a private school.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the school system pay for Jarron Draper, now 21, to attend a school specializing in developmental disabilities for up to four years.
Draper was misdiagnosed with mental retardation by the school system in 1998, according to court records. His family fought for five years to have him retested. In 2003, an independent analysis showed he actually has dyslexia, a learning disability, but Draper's attorneys say the school system was slow to remove him from the restrictive class for mentally disabled students even after the new diagnosis.
"We're elated," said Draper's attorney David Monde about the appeals court decision. "What it means for him is that he is assured of having four years of private school education ... to try to compensate for the years of educational neglect that he suffered at hands of Atlanta Public Schools."
Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Joe Manguno issued a statement from administrators later that said the system "serves thousands of special education children every day, and every one of them is important to us.
"We acted in what we believe was the best interest of this student and his family, and will continue to do so. Furthermore, we fully intend to abide by the rulings of the courts," the statement said.
Draper, who was reading at a fourth-grade level when he was 17, has been moving from one minimum-wage job to another since he left Benjamin E. Mays High School three years ago, Monde said. Draper wants to finish high school and go on to college to study computer services, Monde said.
He plans to attend The Cottage School, a suburban Atlanta campus devoted to serving special-needs students, Monde said.
The appeals court's ruling affirms an order from U.S. District Court Judge Martin Shoob issued a year ago. In his court order, Shoob agreed with an administrative judge who had found in favor of Draper, saying it is "incredulous that anyone, let alone supposedly trained professionals, could have deemed JD mentally retarded as late as 2003."
A state law passed last year gives Georgia parents the option to apply for state-funded vouchers to send their children with mental, emotional or physical disabilities to private schools. The vouchers can be worth between $2,000 and $15,000 annually, depending on the child's disability.
Draper would not qualified for that assistance because he was not enrolled in a Georgia public school last year.
|Dear Carol Sadler,||Subscribe Me!|
Carol Sadler has forwarded this newsletter to you so that you can consider signing up for your own copy in the future.
What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
"Thanks for the trustworthy information and support you provide through the Wrightslaw website and newsletter. You helped our family act when we needed to - we are thriving now."
This email was forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, by Carol Sadler.