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Amicus Briefs Filed in Schaffer v. Weast

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By late April, nine states and more than 20 organizations had filed amicus briefs in support of the parents in Schaffer v. Weast.

Nine States File Amicus Briefs in Support of Parents

A group of States headed by Virginia filed an amicus brief in support of the parents in this case. They argued that the burden of proof should be placed on the school district. The states were:

* Virginia
* Connecticut
* Illinois
* Kansas
* Minnesota
* Nevada
* Rhode Island
* Washington
* Wisconsin

In several of these states, the decision to support parents was politically unpopular. As parents and advocates for children, we should thank these Attorney Generals for their courage. (Contact info for these Attorney Generals at the end of this article)

Other States

If you live in other states (except Hawai'i - see below), please contact your state Attorney General and ask him/her not to sign the brief being authored by Hawai'i which opposes the interests of parents of children with disabilities. (List and contact info for all Attorney Generals)

Hawai'i

Hawai'i is drafting a brief in support of Weast (the school district). Hawaii is unusual because it is the only state that does not have local school districts. Thus, Hawaii functions as a school district and is an interested party in IDEA cases, not an insurer of fairness.

If you live in Hawai'i, contact your Attorney General, Mark J. Bennett, and ask that Hawaii reconsider its decision to write the amicus brief against the interests of parents.

In Hawaii, the Governor appoints the Attorney General. The Governor of Hawai'i is Linda Lingle. Please send a copy of your letter asking that Hawai'i reconsider their decision to Governor Lingle so she is aware that many of her constituents have asked that she reconsider her position.

20 Organizations File Briefs in Support of Parents

More than 20 organizations filed briefs in support of the parents:

The Arc of the United States
Epilepsy Foundation,
NAMI [a national mental illness advocacy organization],
UCP [a national cerebral palsy organization]
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty,
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
American Association of People with Disabilities
National Children's Law Network
Education Law Center of New Jersey
Education Law Center of Pennsylvania
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Center for Law and Education
University of Richmond's School of Law Disability Law clinic
Disability Rights Education and Defenses Fund, Inc.
TASH, Inc.
Western Law Center for Disability Rights Supporting Petitioners
State and Local Chapters of the Autism Society of America
Parents of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia
ASA - Northern Virginia Chapter
Parents for Autistic Children's Education (PACE)
Unlocking Autism

Attorney General Contact Info

Virginia
Attorney General Judith Williams Jagdmann
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804)786-2071
(804) 786-1991 FAX
Virginia Relay Users Dial 711

Connecticut
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 120,
Hartford, Connecticut 06141-0120
Telephone: 860-808-5318
Fax: 860-808-5387
Email: attorney.general@po.state.ct.us

Illinois
Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Springfield Main Office
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1090
TTY: (217) 785-2771

Kansas
Attorney General Phill Kline
Office of Kansas Attorney General
120 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-2215
TTY Phone: 1-800-766-3777

Minnesota
Attorney General Mike Hatch
Minnesota Attorney General's Office
1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353
800-657-3787
TTY: (651) 297-7206
TTY: 1-800-366-4812

Nevada
Brian Sandoval, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Nevada Department of Justice
Reno Office
5420 Kietzke Lane Suite 202
Reno, Nevada 89511
(775) 688-1818
Fax - (775) 688-1822

Office of the Attorney General
Nevada Department of Justice
Las Vegas Office
555 E. Washington Ave. Suite 3900
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
(702) 486-3420
Fax - (702) 486-3768

Rhode Island
Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401)274-4400

Washington
Attorney General Rob McKenna
1125 Washington St. SE
PO Box 40100
Olympia, WA. 98504-0100
Telephone: 360-753-6200
Fax: 360-586-7671

Wisconsin
Attorney General
Peggy A. Lautenschlager
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
Phone # 608-266-1221

Hawaii

Please address correspondence to:
Attorney General Mark J. Bennett
Department of the Attorney General
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Telephone: 808-586-1500
Fax: 808-586-1239

AND

Honorable Governor Linda Lingle
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai'i`i 96813
Phone: 808-586-0034
Fax: 808-586-0006

Schaffer v. Weast

For more information - read the background of the case, download decisions and amicus briefs, please visit the Schaffer v. Weast page. This page will be updated frequently as the case is ongoing.

Oral argument is expected in October or November, 2005 with a decision within a few weeks or by June 2006.

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