Fighting for Marisa: The Legal Battle over Where She Should Go to School

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Virginia Beach school district is once again suing for due process to get Marisa Norman back into public school.

“After winning a four-year battle, Navy Capt. Cassidy Norman and his wife, Michelle, thought they had finally cleared the path for their severely disabled daughter to receive the educational opportunities she needs.”

“Now, after an administrative judge and a federal judge ruled that the public school system had failed Marisa –- and ordered the district to pay for her tuition at the private academy” ….the district is suing to have Marisa go back to public school.

The district is arguing that the time frame of the rulings has passed and insisting that despite past failures, it can offer her an appropriate education.”

“The Normans said they sat in a meeting with Office of Children’s Services representatives who informed district officials that there was funding available for Marisa’s private school tuition, but the district turned those and the DOD Impact Aid funds down.” Instead, the district chose to sue.

– by Dianna Cahn, Stars and Stripes, February 11, 2019.

The fight for Marisa: Inside a long legal battle over where a sailor’s special-needs child should go to school

Complications for a Military Family

“Add the complications for a military family, which might be in a location for only a few years, and the situation can become even more tenuous.”

WAVY 10 News Interview

“The due process hearing is scheduled for the end of March. Marisa’s dad, Captain Cassidy Norman, leaves in April for 15 months. He’s the new commanding officer for the USS Mount Whitney. Michelle says the timing couldn’t be more difficult.”

So instead of preparing my children for their dad being gone for over a year, we’re preparing for a hearing and a trial.

Parents, Virginia Beach schools battle over special needs student’s by Kayla Gaskins, WAVY 10 News, February 13, 2019.

PBS News Hour

The Normans and other military families were also featured in a PBS News Hour on January 29, 2019.

Compounded Stress

“Navigating a school system can be challenging for any parent with a child who has special needs, but, for military families, that stress is compounded by their lifestyle of repeated moves and attending different schools that offer varying levels of services.”

Captain Norman explains that –

During this case, I was responsible for the health and welfare for 3,000 sailors, plus 2,000 additional deployers on our ship. And even though that was stressful, it was more stressful for me to think about my daughter, who wasn’t being taken care of by the public school here.

These military families say public schools aren’t supporting their special-needs kids

Military Spouse of the Year 2019

Congratulations to Michelle Norman – Armed Forces Insurance Norfolk Naval Station Spouse of the Year for 2019.

Michelle’s platform is advocating for our most vulnerable children with special needs and their access to a Free Appropriate Public Education through education, reform and legislation.

Military Spouse of the Year: Meet the Top 18!

Case Updates


Case Update: MN v. School Board City of VA Beach 2018

Falling Through the Cracks: Military Children with Special Needs

Hearing Officer Decision 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please help us defeat spam. Thank you. *