ERIC Number: EJ759565
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep-28
Reference Count: N/A
Samuels, Christina A.
Education Week, v25 n5 p27-29 Sep 2005
Brian Schaffer, now a 21-year-old college junior, spent prekindergarten through 7th grade at Green Acres School, a 320-student Rockville, Maryland, private school where his parents say he had the benefit of small class sizes and teachers who could accommodate his needs, which included attention deficit disorder, speech and language delays, and other learning disabilities. By the 7th grade, school administrators told Brian's parents, Jocelyn and Martin, that he would be better served in a special education program. He was struggling academically as classwork shifted toward more reading and writing. The Schaffers turned to their local school district, Montgomery County, from which their two older children would graduate. After evaluating Brian in 1998, the Montgomery County district diagnosed him with speech-language and learning disabilities. The district would be able to meet his needs at his home middle school through a program that would place him in larger classes, but with support from another teacher in the room who would work with him and a handful of other students with special needs. He would have received about 16 hours of special education a week under the district's plan. Brian's learning disabilities were "nonsevere," says Jerry D. Weast, the superintendent of the Montgomery County district. The Schaffers, however, had outside experts evaluate their son. Those experts concluded that Brian's disabilities included a "central auditory processing deficit" that made it nearly impossible for him to function well in classrooms of more than a dozen or so students. Jocelyn Schaffer visited one of the programs offered for Brian, and determined that the classes were too large for him to learn in. The family fought the district's decision on Brian's education, and the case ended up before an administrative-law judge. This article presents the timeline of this special education lawsuit, "Schaffer v. Weast," which has found its way now to the Supreme Court.
Descriptors: Special Needs Students, College Students, Special Education, Private Schools, Delayed Speech, Counties, Attention Deficit Disorders, Learning Disabilities, School Districts, Court Litigation, Legal Responsibility, Educational Responsibility
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland