Wiscarson Law helps hundreds of families every year. In most situations, Wiscarson Law improves education for families and their children simply by working with school and district personnel. A small number of cases each year lead to some kind of formal legal process, such as state complaints, state due process complaints, and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) complaints. Of those cases that have gone to a formal legal process, 91.57% filed by Wiscarson Law have been resolved favorably through negotiated settlements, rather than a formal decision-making process.

Wiscarson Law Settlement Record
Below is the breakdown of the “91.57%” which were resolved via negotiated settlements, without going through a formal decision-making process, by year. (Note that the 2015 percentage is subject to change because several matters are currently open and moving toward settlement).

Year Settlements
2015 100%
2014 100%
2013 93.75%
2012 63.64%
2011 93.75%
2010 88.24%
2009 90.91%
2008 83.33%
2007 100%
2006 100%
2005 100%
2004 60.00%
2003 100%
2002 100%
2001 100%


Orders and OCR Resolution Agreements

In the Matter of Forest Grove School District
Oregon State Complaint Case No. 14-054-013
(May 20, 2014)

The parents prevailed in an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) State Complaint against the district. In September 2012, the parents prevailed in a prior due process hearing against the school district (DP 11-131). As part of the due process decision, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held that the district failed to provide the student appropriate transition services to prepare the student for postsecondary life. The district refused to comply with the remedies ordered in the due process decision, and in response to the district’s failure, the parents filed a complaint with ODE alleging the district was not implementing the due process order.

After an extensive investigation, ODE found the district had not provided the student with the ordered transition services. ODE ordered the district to immediately implement the ALJ’s order. ODE required the district to develop a plan to meet the student’s postsecondary goal. ODE also required the district to submit monthly activity logs and completion records documenting compliance with the order.

This decision has since been withdrawn by ODE.

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In the Matter of Kennewick School District
Special Education Cause No. 2012-SE-0033
(January 8, 2014)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a due process hearing found that the district procedurally and substantively violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). During the student’s time in the district, the student engaged in numerous incidents of sexually inappropriate behavior at school, fled from the school campus without the district staff noticing the student’s absence, and demonstrated difficulties in social skills, executive functioning, and academics that the district failed to address. As a result of the district’s inability to provide the student an appropriate education or keep the student safe at school, the parents ultimately enrolled the student in a succession of online, residential treatment, and wilderness programs. In October 2011, the parents requested and attended an IEP meeting specifically to discuss the district paying for a residential placement due to its continual failure to provide an appropriate education.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ordered the district to reimburse the parents for the academic portion and half the counseling portion of the tuition at the student’s ultimate residential placement, through January 2014. The ALJ further awarded the parents reimbursement for the adult supervision the parents provided for school-sponsored activities outside school hours and reimbursement for counseling related to the student’s sexually inappropriate behaviors at school. However, the ALJ reduced the tuition reimbursement by half, finding the parents’ discussions with the district about residential placement and their request the district pay for such a placement was insufficient notice of the parents’ intent to place the student in a residential facility at district expense. The ALJ also awarded the parents reimbursement for a privately obtained evaluation but reduced the reimbursement by 10% because the district had recently administered two of the same assessments the private evaluator used.

Both the parents and the district have appealed this decision.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and Forest Grove School District
Case No. DP 13-104
(December 18, 2013)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a due process hearing found that the district substantively violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The parents had previously prevailed in a due process hearing in September 2012 (DP 11-131), which, among other things, determined the Individualized Education Program (IEP) the district developed denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The district, however, continued to deny the student a FAPE after the parents requested the first due process hearing by failing to convene an IEP meeting, failing to consider private evaluations provided by the parents until November 2012, failing to create and implement an appropriate IEP, and restricting the parents’ ability to communicate with the student’s teachers, ultimately requiring the parents to direct all communication through the district’s legal counsel and blocking the parents’ emails. The parents requested this second due process hearing (DP 13-104) to address the continued denial of a FAPE.

The ALJ found the district substantively violated the IDEA by continuing to rely on a defective IEP, failing to implement the student’s current IEPs, developing an inappropriate IEP, and failing to provide necessary services. The ALJ held the district procedurally violated the IDEA by preventing the parents from communicating with the district staff about the student’s education, ignoring private evaluations, and providing the student’s compensatory services at the expense of ongoing education. The ALJ ordered the district to convene a facilitated IEP meeting to address all of the parents’ concerns and provide extensive compensatory education services outside of the student’s regular academic schedule.

The district appealed this decision, which is currently on stay pending the decision of DP 11-131 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and Central Curry School District
Case No. DP 11-127
(October 24, 2012)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found the district denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). After a disastrous attempt to learn at a district school, the student began receiving his education in a district funded private program run by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) as part of a settlement agreement with the district. As the agreement expired the parents and the district began discussing a new Individualized Education Program (IEP). Despite having minimal experience with the student, the district ignored the recommendations of the parents and their experts, drafting an IEP that lacked supports necessary for the student to receive educational benefit. Further, the district predetermined that the student would be attending a district classroom and it would no longer fund or consider the successful private program.

The ALJ found the district denied the student a FAPE by offering a placement that would not provide access to any educational benefit and predetermining that offer. The ALJ ordered the district to reimburse the parents for the actual costs of maintaining the private program until the district offered a FAPE.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and West Linn-Wilsonville School District
Case No. DP 11-122
(October 4, 2012)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found the district denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Despite the student displaying a significant escalation in physically and verbally aggressive behavior, the district did not conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA) or any other evaluation to determine the cause of the behavior until approximately four months later. Additionally, the district progressively removed the student from regular education until he received only 1:1 instruction almost completely isolated from peers.

The ALJ found the district denied the student a FAPE by not conducting an FBA sooner, not convening an IEP meeting to address the student’s behaviors, and not allowing the parents to participate in determining the student’s placement. The ALJ ordered the district to conduct appropriate evaluations and develop an IEP and behavior plan based on those evaluations. Further, the ALJ ordered the district to reimburse the parents for one year of tuition at a private school and continue paying the private school tuition until the district developed an appropriate IEP.

This decision was appealed by the district and overturned in part.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and Forest Grove School District
Case No. DP 11-131
(September 12, 2012)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the district denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The district placed the student with an intellectual disability and very low reading and math skills in mostly regular education high school classes with no modifications to the curriculum. Additionally, the district ignored the parents’ extensive private evaluations and failed to evaluate the student’s needs in many areas, including transition needs despite her turning 16 and clinically significant anxiety despite a severe mental health episode. Further, the district failed to provide any meaningful progress information to inform the parents that the student was not making progress and did not provide prior written notice of multiple decisions and refusals to provide requested services to the student.

The ALJ found that the district’s multiple failures denied the student a FAPE. To remedy the denial of a FAPE, the ALJ ordered the district to provide a comprehensive independent evaluation, develop a new Individualized Education Program (IEP) with all team members privy to evaluation results, provide extensive compensatory education in reading, math, transition, and counseling services, and conduct staff training on IEP development and evaluations.

The district appealed this case, and it was overturned in part. The parents have appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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In the Matter of Eugene School District
Case No. 12-054-002
(March 26, 2012)

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) found no district violation when the parents filed a State Complaint. The district failed to provide any of the compensatory education ordered by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in Case No. DP 10-116. The district’s rationale was that it understood a comment by the parent that she did not want to reenroll the student in a district school without a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and behavior support plan (BSP) to mean that she refused all services, but the district never attempted to clarify. Further, the district failed to conduct a meaningful FBA to look at the student’s aggression prior to his removal from the district or draft a BSP to address that aggression to make it safe for him to reenroll in the district, as ordered by the ALJ. The district instead conducted an FBA of the student in his then current charter school placement and declined to draft a BSP because his behavior was so improved at the charter school.

The parent filed a complaint with ODE requesting that it enforce the ALJ’s order and ensure the student received the remedies that were ordered. ODE accepted the district’s rationalizations and refused to enforce the ALJ’s order. This case was appealed in state court and dismissed.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and Eugene School District
Case No. DP 10-116
(October 13, 2011)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the district failed to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The district prevented the parent from having any meaningful participation in IEP meetings for the student by hiding information about the student. Additionally, the district physically moved the student and placed him in a locked room on numerous occasions without informing the parent. Further, despite a significant pattern of escalating and physically aggressive behavior, the district failed to conduct a functional behavior assessment and modify the student’s behavior support plan. Finally, the District improperly changed the student’s placement by making the decision unilaterally and simply announcing it to the parent at a later “placement meeting.”

The ALJ ordered the district to develop a transition plan to return the student to his previous placement, convene a proper IEP meeting, conduct a functional behavior assessment, develop a behavior support plan for the student, provide a year of compensatory education and counseling to the student, and conduct staff training in several areas.

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In the Matter of Portland School District 1J
Case No. 10-054-013
(July 28, 2010)

The parent prevailed in an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) State Complaint against the district when the parent challenged the district’s policy for Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs). Specifically, the parent challenged the requirement that a parent must obtain an IEE at personal expense and then submit the results to the district and request reimbursement.

ODE ordered the district to amend its IEE policy so that it did not impose conditions that effectively deny parents and adult students their right to a publicly funded IEE. ODE also mandated training for all staff on the new IEE policy.

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Oregon Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights Reference No. 10091289
(February 11, 2010)

The Parent filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) about an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) policy, which provided for three opportunities to take the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) online but only one opportunity to take a paper and pencil form. The paper and pencil form of the OAKS is only available to students with disabilities.

OCR and ODE entered into a resolution agreement regarding statewide assessment. ODE is now required to offer all students an equal number of opportunities to take the OAKS. Previously, students with disabilities who required pencil and paper forms were offered one opportunity and their nondisabled peers, who could use the online form, were offered three opportunities.

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In the Matter of Eagle Point School District
Case No. 09-054-027
(Sept. 4, 2009)

The parents prevailed in an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) State Complaint against the district. The parents, through their attorney, requested that the district produce a copy of the student’s educational record. The district complied with the request and sent an invoice charging for time spent locating and redacting records, time spent copying, and $0.10 per page for copying.

ODE ordered the district to remove any charge for obtaining student records associated with searching for or retrieving educational records.

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In the Matter of the Education of Student and Riverdale School District
Case No. DP 08-101
(July 14, 2008)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the district failed to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Despite being aware of the student’s suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, as well as other indications of emotional disturbance, the district failed to evaluate the student.

The ALJ ordered the district to reimburse the parents for a private evaluation, private counseling services, and two months of private school tuition.

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In the Matter of Vancouver School District
Special Education Cause No. 2003-SE-0137
(December 03, 2004)

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the district failed to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The student’s return from psychiatric hospitalization triggered the district’s duty to initiate a special education referral. The district’s failure to comply with this child-find obligation denied a free appropriate public education to the student because she suffered a loss of educational opportunity and was deprived of her educational benefit.

The ALJ awarded the parent part of the residential placement costs based on Greenland Sch. Dist. v. Amy N., 358 F.3d 150 (1st Cir. 2004).

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In the Matter of Colton School District
Case No. 04-054-033
(September 03, 2004)

The parent prevailed in an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) State Complaint against the district. The district failed to respond to the parent attorney’s requests for a meeting to discuss Extended School Year (ESY) services before summer began. Failure to schedule such a meeting or to provide prior written notice of refusal to hold the meeting was improper.

ODE ordered a properly constituted IEP meeting to consider whether the student should receive ESY for the past summer.