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Education Rights: D.G. v. Cooperstown Central School District

By: Daily Record Staff//November 2, 2010

Education Rights: D.G. v. Cooperstown Central School District

By: Daily Record Staff//November 2, 2010//

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U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

Education Rights

IDEA — Disabilities

D.G. v. Cooperstown Central School District
Judge Hurd

Background: Plaintiff P.O. brings an action on behalf of her son, D.G., a child with a disability, against defendant Cooperstown Central School District under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Specifically, the plaintiff appeals a decision of the state Education Department’s review officer, who found the district-recommended individualized education plan for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years offered D.G. a free appropriate public education under the IDEA. The district moved for summary judgment. D.G., born in 1994, was first classified in May 2004 by the district’s Committee on Special Education as learning disabled with deficits in the areas of reading and written expression. The plaintiff alleges that by the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, she had lost faith in the district’s ability to teach D.G. so she enrolled D.G. at the Brookwood School, where he attended during the 2004-2005 school year. During D.G.’s fourth grade year at Brookwood, the 2004-2005 school year, D.G. was placed in a class with a teacher experienced in teaching students with dyslexia. During the year he worked on his reading skills up to three and a half hours per day in a one-on-one setting. D.G. expressed an interest in returning to the district’s elementary school for his fifth grade year. In response, the plaintiff contacted the school’s principal, who recommended D.G. was receiving more services at Brookwood than he would at the district, therefore it was recommended that he remain at Brookwood. The plaintiff remained dissatisfied with the district’s services and plan and the student failed to make the same progress while there.

Ruling: The purpose of the IDEA is to ensure all children with disabilities have a free appropriate public education available to them. School districts are not required to furnish every special service necessary to maximize each child’s potential or provide everything that might be thought desirable by loving parents. Both IEPs at issue were developed by the Cooperstown Central School District’s Committee on Special Education after taking into account D.G.’s test results, progress, the plaintiff’s concerns, and consideration of the various options available in the district. While the plaintiff may have preferred the district to employ the Wilson program, the district did not fail to provide D.G. a free appropriate public education by using other proven methods. The defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted and the plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment will be denied because the state Review Officer concluded properly that the district’s recommended programs for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years would have conferred educational benefits on D.G. and would have offered him a free appropriate public education, as required by IDEA.

Jason H. Sterne, Office of Andrew K. Cuddy, for the plaintiff; Susan T. Johns for the defendant

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