Before 1975 students with disabilities were often excluded from public education or they attended but the schools failed to meet their needs. The Education of All Handicapped Children Act required that all public schools must provide every student a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). The first time this was interpreted was in the case of Board of Education v. Rowley.
Amy Rowley was a kindergarten student was a hearing-impaired student. Amy was given a hearing aid and she was a great lip reader. She did fairly decent in her kindergarten classes. The school provided an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for her upcoming school year. Her IEP stated that she will be placed in the general education classroom, continue using her hearing aid, and receive speech therapy. Amy's parents argued that Amy should receive a sign language interpreter instead. However, the school board committee argued that it was not necessary to have a sign language interpreter for Amy.
Finally, Amy's parents took it upon themselves to bring it to a court case decision. Their argument in court was that the Board of Education denied Amy a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Their argument is that the Board violated the Education for all Handicapped Children Act. The court ruled in favor of Amy having a sign language interpreter in all of her classes. Eventually, this made its way to the US Supreme Court and they confirmed the decision. The Board of Education lost this case verses the Rowley family (Supreme Justia, n.d.).
WHAT DID THE FAMILY SEEK?
WHAT DID THE BOARD SEEK?
Amy Rowley's parents and family members wanted their child, Amy, to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education based on the Education of all Handicapped Children Act. This was passed so that all handicapped or disabled child was able to have a free and appropriate education which included special education services to every student that requires them.
The Board of Education believed that they did the right thing by sticking to what Amy was successful at doing the year before which was her hearing aid. Amy passed kindergarten without an interpreter, so the Board of Education was thinking that she did not need an interpreter if she was able to pass the year prior.
The ruling ultimately says that students have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The court decided that Rowley needed to have a sign language interpreter in order for her to achieve her full potential in school. This ruling impacted Amy in the sense that she was able to receive the grant that her parents wanted for her. She was able to get a sign language interpreter so that she could achieve higher success in school. The Board of Education lost the case and was impacted from a standpoint of understanding the laws of special education students and their needs more. The Board should learn that students needs come first (Supreme Justia, n.d.).
THE RULING CONT.
The ruling still plays a role in today's school systems as well. I believe it is because of all the laws that were passed for disabled students to have a free education and feel included in their schools. This impacts us as teachers because we have to (not that we don't) make sure that every student we teach is learning, cared for, and accommodated for their specific learning needs. This also plays a role in society too. It impacts society because now disabled individuals are included in the world we live in. They are no longer abused or mistreated for their disabilities.
Timothy W. v. Rochester, NH, School District (1989)
The Story -
Timothy W. was a child with severe intellectual and multiple disabilities. His mother wanted to enroll him into the Rochester, New Hampshire, School District in 1980. The school district personnel met to decide whether Timothy W. was considered "educationally handicapped." Two of the four school district personnel members found Timothy W. to be uneducable. This meant that Timothy was too handicapped or disabled to be educated by their standards. In this meeting, they denied Timothy W. his educational services based on his inability to be educated because of his disabilities being so severe. They believed Timothy W. was not capable of getting educated.
They eventually decided that Timothy was considered handicapped which means he was eligible for education because of the Education for all Handicapped Act of 1975. The court ruled that Timothy, since he was considered handicapped, had been denied a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The court also ruled that handicapped students do not need to show that they benefit from special education services in order to be eligible for their education because it has already been a law put in place that handicapped children get free and appropriate education (Law Justia, n.d.). It should be noted that Zero Reject was also a law in place before this case started playing out. Zero Reject, 1975, states that all children should receive a free and appropriate education no matter how severe their disability is (Weebly, n.d).