Hamilton County Schools win special education suit

Hamilton County Schools win special education suit

December 21st, 2013 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Hamilton County Schools headquarters

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Document: Judge's Final Order

A state judge has found in favor of Hamilton County Schools in a case alleging the school system denied 10-year-old Luka Hyde his federally mandated special education services.

In arguing a due process case November, Luka's parents argued in November that their son was denied a federally mandated appropriate education. Deborah Hyde contended her son was academically successful up until last school year, when Luka was in second grade at Normal Park Museum Magnet School. But school officials said he was performing poorly and recommended he move to a more intensive special education-specific classroom at Red Bank Elementary.

In his ruling, released Friday, administrative law judge Marion Wall said the Hydes failed to substantiate their claims that the school system didn't implement their son's Individualized Education Program.

"The school district is not required to continue to pursue futile educational strategies just to maintain placement in a neighborhood school," he wrote.

Hamilton County Schools officials have said Luka had just progressed as far as he could in his regular education classroom at Normal Park.

During a hearing in Hamilton County earlier this year, multiple school officials testified that Luka, who has Down syndrome, was unable to keep up with the regular curriculum, even with an array of supports and modifications, such as special education teachers and a one-on-one assistant.

The Hyde case was the first such due process suit filed against the school system since 1999. Hyde's parents asked the judge to order the school system to reimburse the family for the cost of his attending the Montessori School. The Hydes had moved Luka there this fall after the school system wanted to place him at Red Bank Elementary.

Hyde argued the move to Red Bank would give her son no chance to participate in the regular school curriculum and he would not be on a track to make any meaningful academic progress.