Wow. Big, big win for parents who were supported by the US DOJ btw.
The opinion is here (Winkelman v. Parma City School District)
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said parents have legal rights under the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act, the main federal special education law.
“They are, as a result, entitled to prosecute IDEA claims on their own behalf,” Kennedy said.
The court sided with Jeff and Sandee Winkelman and their son, Jacob, in their fight against the Parma, Ohio school district.
The Winkelmans can’t afford a lawyer or the cost of private schooling for Jacob. Neither parent is a lawyer.
The parents objected to the Parma schools’ plan to educate Jacob at a public school. They wanted the district to pay for his $56,000 yearly enrollment in a private school that specializes in educating autistic children.
The Winkelmans have spent about $30,000 in legal fees since first contesting Jacob’s treatment in 2003. Jeff Winkelman has taken a second job while his wife has researched previous court rulings and written her own filings.
Huge, huge win.
I wrote about it here and here and will post updates as I learn more, understand more. Wow – really, REALLY big deal for kids with special ed needs and parents who differ with their public school districts. Read more about a tangential issue in Ohio here at Brewed Fresh Daily.
UPDATE: More first-person reaction from the Winkelmans, by the Plain Dealer Openers.