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Retaliation

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The legal definition of retaliation is in the implementing regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. at 28 CFR 36.206.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education, issues public guidance on retaliation as a violation of Federal law. The OCR Letter issued April 24, 2013 clarifies the basic principles of retaliation law and describes OCR's methods of enforcement.

New! Watch and Listen Pete posted a video about the new case AC v. Shelby Countyvideo . April 1, 2013 US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit case regarding a child with Type 1 Diabetes and issues of Section 504 retaliation. This case, about false allegations of child abuse, leads to jury trial.

Jury Awards 1 Million to Fired Special Ed Teacher
. Oregon jury sends a strong message to a school district
that retaliated against a special ed teacher who advocated for her students. This "inside story" includes links to the pleadings in this landmark retaliation case. (Note: Subsequently, the school district appealed. On April 5, 2004, the U. S. Court of Appeals reversed a magistrate judge and upheld the jury verdict for Pamella Settlegoode.)
Download the decision in Pamella Settlegoode v. Portland Oregon in pdf or in html

Linda Sturm v. Rocky Hill Bd of Ed, U. S. District Court of Connecticut. Special ed teacher can bring suit against the school district who did not renew her contract because Section 504 includes anti-retaliation provisions and courts have extended protection against retaliation for those who advocate for the disabled. (2005)

Fales v. Garst: Analysis by Pete Wright. In a January 2, 2001 decision, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit filed by three special education teachers against the principal of their school. The teachers complained "about Garst's administrative decisions and actions to his superiors and others, including the media" over the needs of special education students.

Judge Allows Lawsuit for Damages Against Hawaii. Judge rules that a family can sue to force the state to pay for therapy for their 6-year old autistic daughter and can seek punitive damages for the emotional distress suffered while trying to get services for their child.

"Enemies List" Targets Parents. Describes efforts by the Association of California School Administrators to compile a list of parents and parent groups who were critical of schools or who questioned special education decisions. 

Jury Awards $600,000 to Parents of Handicapped Child. Jury found that school district failed to provide free appropriate public education and retaliated against parents who attempted to advocate for their child.

Caselaw

New! AC v. Shelby County (6th Cir. 2013) - On April 1, 2013 the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a pro-child 504 retaliation ruling in which the building principal filed allegedly "false" child abuse allegations against the parent with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS). She told DCS that the parents "are just looking for a lawsuit" and that they thus did not care that "the child could die at school."

For a case of this nature to proceed, there must be a finding that the school district retaliated against the parents for asserting their rights under Section 504. The District Court dismissed the case and Sixth Circuit said that the District Court misunderstood the law and remanded the case back for a trial by jury. The original decision as issued by the Court is located here. The Wrightslaw reformatted version with bold highlights inserted is located here.

Pamella Settlegoode v. Portland Public Schools, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Court upheld jury verdict, reinstated 1 million dollar award to special ed teacher who was retaliated against and fired for advocating for her students; clarifies importance of freedom of speech for teachers. Decision in pdf (2004)

Linda Sturm v. Rocky Hill Bd of Ed, U. S. District Court of Connecticut. Special ed teacher can bring suit against the school district who did not renew her contract because Section 504 includes anti-retaliation provisions and courts have extended protection against retaliation for those who advocate for the disabled. (2005)

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Last updated: 05/22/13

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