A family is suing Teton County School District No. 1 in federal district court, alleging that the district took its child out of special education services even though the student still needed help.
In the complaint, the family accuses the district of violating the student’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The legislation guarantees free public special education and advanced instruction for students with documented physical or learning disabilities.
“The District’s employees breached their duties of care to Plantiffs and the District is vicariously liable for that negligence,” the complaint reads.
The family has asked to remain anonymous during the case, citing the student’s age and disabilities as privacy concerns.
The case hinges on a disagreement over the student’s reading and writing capabilities and the appropriate educational remedies.
The complaint alleges that the student, who entered Jackson Hole Middle School in the 2018-19 school year, was put on an individual education plan because of reading and writing learning disorders. That included enrollment in the Wilson reading program, which the district uses to help struggling students reach grade level.
According to the complaint, the student did not reach the goals outlined in the education plan, but the district removed him from it for the 2019-20 school year, placing him instead in reading support in a general classroom.
The district has said his improvement on assessments dictated the move.
The family alleges it has exhausted all administrative options for keeping the student in the specialized program, hence the lawsuit. However, in a motion to dismiss, the district says that is not true.
“Plaintiffs have not exhausted administrative remedies and/or have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” the motion says.
The family has filed a “stay-put” motion, which would effectively reinstate the student’s specialized instruction while the litigation plays out, but the district has filed a motion in opposition. A hearing date on the motions has not been set.