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Special Education Appeal Clears Important Hurdle

For Immediate Release

November 3, 2017
Contact: Mark McWilliams
517.487.1755, MMcWilliams@mpas.org

Special Education Appeal Clears Important Hurdle
Michigan Teacher Fighting for Son

Lansing, MI – A Michigan teacher, and parent, Melody Arabo can move forward with a case involving her 7 year old son and his special education rights after the U.S. District Court refused to expand the case as requested by her school district.  

In February 2016, Melody filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) against the Walled Lake Community School District for forcing her son into a segregated classroom.  The MDE found the district’s actions were not consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

In July 2016, in an attempt to stall the state’s complaint investigation, the school district requested a due process hearing against Mr. and Mrs. Arabo, thus escalating the dispute to a formal legal proceeding. Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) represented the Arabos before the administrative law judge and appealed to the federal court after the judge ruled in favor of the district. 

On October 31, 2017, the U.S District Court ruled against the school district’s motion to bring the MDE (and their complaint process) in as a defendant for this federal appeal. The court found there was no merit to the procedural tactics the district was employing. “By advocating that their child be mainstreamed, the Parents are not taking an extreme or radical position,” said the court.

“MPAS is pleased with the ruling of the U.S. District Court. This case has always been about a child’s right to be educated along with their peers in a general education setting. The district’s attempt to shift the focus from education to the MDE’s complaint process is absurd,” said Mark Cody, Legal Director for MPAS.

“The conflict with the Walled Lake School District over our son’s education has been ongoing for 3 years, which has had a detrimental impact on the most critical foundational years of his schooling. The District’s decision to file several unnecessary motions, which the judge found to lack any legal merit, purposely delays the process and hurts the child, while increasing the cost of litigation causes the district to spend a significant amount of money that should go to students, not attorneys,” said Elias Arabo, the child’s father.

MPAS and the Arabos will continue to work through this appeal process  

Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the governor of the State of Michigan to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan. www.mpas.org.

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Posted on:
November 03, 2017