The U.S. Supreme Court said this week that it will not consider a special education case that raised questions about whether or not school districts should be liable if they fail to identify a child’s special needs.
The case was brought by a California mother who said that her local school district did not identify her daughter’s disabilities even as teachers reported that the 10th-grader “colored with crayons at her desk, played with dolls in class and urinated on herself.” The student, known as Addison in court papers, went without special education services and continued to be promoted to the next grade, her mother alleged.
Addison’s mother sued the Compton Unified School District in 2004 saying that educators should have noticed the girl’s needs sooner. She cited the “child find” clause under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which obligates schools to identify students who may qualify for special education services.
Addison’s mother won her case before an administrative law judge and the decision was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But the school district appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the ruling would expose schools to claims of “educational malpractice.”
Last spring, the high court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the matter. And in a November brief, the U.S. Solicitor General responded by urging the court to decline the case indicating that the school district’s claims were unsubstantiated.
On Monday, the court said that it would not hear the case — Compton Unified School District v. Addison — without providing additional comment.