A group of parents in Morgan Hill, California (a city south of San Jose) have sued the California Department of Education for failing to insure that special education students within the Morgan Hill Unified School District are given a Free, Approrpriate Public Education (FAPE). The group, Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, filed suit Dec. 29, 2011. Just last month, the judge denied the CDE’s request to dismiss the case.
Plaintiffs seek to force the CDE to actively fulfill its statutory obligations to ensure the provision of FAPE, rather than passively record the districts’ failures. Among other shortcomings, the Complaint alleges that California school districts are failing to: identify children with disabilities at an early age; properly assess and categorize the children’s disabilities; develop and implement individualized education programs and educate them “to the maximum extent appropriate” in the “least restrictive environment,” that is, in a general education environment with their non-disabled peers.
The organization is alleging that the CDE takes a passive or reactive role than is required by law. The parents are alleging that their district is failing to provide FAPE and that the CDE failed to properly review the district and to enforce laws even in those cases where reviews found the district to be out of compliance.
The CDE asked that the case be dismissed and on March 29th, this motion was denied.