Disproportionality: Segregation Through Special Education


S.H. v. LMSD

S.H. was placed in special education classes for five years even though she never had a learning disability. After heading to college, S.H. found significant knowledge gaps in areas such as math and science as she missed out on core curriculum when she was inappropriately held in special education classes. S.H.’s parents requested a due process hearing. After the hearing officer heard evidence, including evidence that S.H. never had a disability, he dismissed the case, believing that he did not have jurisdiction over it. S.H. appealed the hearing officer’s decision and asserted claims that she was discriminated against because she was regarded as having a disability. The lawsuit, brought in U.S. Federal District Court, claimed the LMSD violated the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended. In June 2011, the Federal District Court held that S.H. had no right to bring a claim under the IDEA about being misidentified because she was not disabled. In July 2012, the Federal District Court held that S.H. had not put forth sufficient proof to establish that the school district acted with intent in discriminating against S.H. as being disabled. S.H. has appealed the decision.