Student, mother sue Pennsylvania school district over educational services

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Aug 20, 2015

A student and his mother are suing a Pennsylvania school district for allegedly failing to provide educational services.

J.C., who is considered a minor regarding special education rights under federal special education statutes, and A.H, parent and guardian of J.C., filed a lawsuit July 24 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against the Scranton School District, alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint, J.C. is eligible for special education services under the IDEA disability category of autism. After J.C. was given a diploma at the end of the 2013-14 school year, he and his mother requested a due process hearing, alleging the school district didn't provide him with special education services.

The suit states the school district entered into a settlement in January 2015 with the plaintiffs in which the district would re-enroll J.C. into a program consisting of job coaching and life skills, as well as continuing to provide educational services to J.C. to the end of the school year when he turns 21 unless he becomes ineligible based on certain circumstances such as moving outside of the district's boundaries.

The lawsuit says the school district has yet to provide these agreed upon services and haven't responded to J.C.'s mother's weekly phone calls regarding the services.

The civil action faults the defendant with discriminating against the student by showing deliberate indifference through its failure to provide the educational services, breaching the special settlement agreement and denying a qualified disabled with free appropriate public education.

According to the suit, as the result of being denied the services he is entitled to, J.C. has suffered emotional harm, trauma and distress.

The plaintiffs seek damages for educational and emotional harm, an order to place any monetary award into a third-party special needs trust, attorney fees and costs, plus other relief deemed appropriate by the court. They are represented by attorney Drew Christian of Scranton.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania case number 3:15-cv-01437-RDM.

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