The Philadelphia Project


Law Center Intervenes to Get a Child Back to School Safely

L.W. is a seven year old who suffers from severe developmental delays. After L.W.’s first birthday, L.W. underwent surgery and suffered a brain injury that caused developmental delays and created a severe seizure disorder. Concerned about L.W.’s future education, L.W.’s parents placed L.W. in an early intervention program at a private school when L.W. was three years old. After four years, L.W.’s parents thought it was time for L.W. to move into kindergarten.

The parents and District met to discuss an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) in May 2014 to put in place for the new school year. Although the IEP provided for support services for L.W.’s disability, it did not specify in what school L.W. would receive these services, which is essential. L.W.’s seizure disorder required staff training to ensure L.W.’s safety. As a result of the District’s deficient IEP, L.W. could not attend school without risk of serious injury. L.W. was deprived of educational services until early October of that year. That’s when the Law Center became involved.

The Law Center filed a due process complaint to get L.W. back in school and to ensure a new IEP was drawn up that kept L.W. safe. Based on the briefs provided by the Law Center, the Hearing Officer determined that L.W.’s rights had been violated. The School District was required to have an effective IEP in place for L.W. by the first day of the school year. The IEP was “…legally insufficient on its face” because no school location for the services was provided. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provided a remedy. Through IDEA, the Law Center was able to force the School District to place L.W. back in L.W.’s early intervention program. L.W. was able to receive educational and support services while a new IEP was created to place L.W. in an appropriate kindergarten classroom. After the Hearing Officer’s decision, the matter was successfully resolved between the School District and the parent.