The Hamilton County Department of Education has filed an appeal after a federal judge ruled early last month that it violated multiple federal guidelines to protect students with disabilities when it removed a second-grader with Down syndrome from Normal Park Elementary School in 2013.
Scott Bennett, attorney for the Hamilton County Board of Education, said on Thursday he could not comment on the appeal filed Tuesday.
In the July ruling, federal Judge Curtis Collier said the school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
Luka Hyde and his parents, Deborah and Greg Hyde, are at the center of the case. The Hydes argue that Luka should not have been moved from Normal Park to a comprehensive development classroom at Red Bank Elementary, segregating him from his peers.
Now, in light of the appeal, the Hydes' attorney, Justin Gilbert, said in a statement that despite the federal judge's ruling, "Hamilton County remains hell-bent to deny it."
"They tied up his elementary school years in court, and this appeal will surely rob him of middle school years," he wrote. "The family cannot understand why the school board would ever approve this type of taxpayer-funded litigation at one child's expense."
On the same day the appeal was filed, Gilbert filed for reimbursement of attorneys' fees, totaling just over $328,000, on behalf of the Hydes.
Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at email@example.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.