Courtesy image

Courtesy image

Judge orders Issaquah School District to pay for violating disabilities education act

Issaquah School District was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to provide adequate education to a special education student.

The complaint was originally filed in 2018, and states that the student was deemed as eligible for special education services in the district in 2008, when he was 3 years old. This finding was reversed in 2009, and subsequently reinstated in 2011. In 2014, another district evaluation determined the student was eligible to receive specially designated instruction and services for behavior, social skills, writing and communication.

Over the coming years, the student was assessed several more times, and it was found that specialized attention was still warranted. However, during his sixth- and seventh-grade years, the district only created one individualized education report. Over this time, the student had problems turning in homework, and would often have trouble paying attention in class. The parents felt that the student was not getting the support he needed to get his daily homework assignments listed in his planner.

Over the coming years, the parents continually reached out to the district with concerns about their child’s education. The parents eventually decided to withdraw their child from the district, and placed him in a private school, where his grades improved significantly.

Diane Wiscarson, the attorney representing the family, said the student was depressed and anxious while in the Issaquah School District — often not wanting to get out of bed. The parents filed a complaint against the district in 2018, seeking restitution.

“Mental health takes a toll on people that I think isn’t recognized,” Wiscarson said. “And with kids, we talk about the difference of a kid who was getting all F’s and was going to be a drop out, and in private school, he’s getting all A’s.”

This March, an administrative judge ruled that the Issaquah School District must pay nearly $154,000 to cover the expense of tuition at the private school, in addition to more than $7,600 in transportation costs. It must also pay future tuition and transportation expenses for the student.

The judge found the Issaquah School District violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and denied the student a free appropriate public education during the 2016-2018 school years.

An Issaquah School District spokesperson said they cannot speak on confidential student matters, and declined to comment.




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