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Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter

This page includes links to the decisions in the Carter case, the "Untold Story of Carter," and resources about the U. S. Supreme Court.

How the Carter Case Evolved

U. S. District Court Decision. After Shannon's parents lost at Due Process and Review, they placed Shannon into Trident Academy and sued for tuition in Federal Court. Judge Houck appointed his own expert, charted out Shannon's educational test data. Judge Houck concluded that Florence County's IEP that Shannon would progress from the 4.4 reading grade level to the 4.8 grade level, after one year of special education, was wholly inadequate. U. S. District Court Decision, Shannon Carter v. Florence County

Florence County Takes Their Case to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Florence County appealed to the Fourth Circuit. They argued that four months of progress in reading was appropriate. They also argued that because Trident Academy was not on the State's non-existent "approved" list of schools, Shannon's parents could not be reimbursed for her tuition at the private school. In their decision, the Fourth Circui discussed "least restrictive environment" issues, and a contrary Second Circuit case. This ruling in Shannon's favor created a "split" among circuits that opened the door to a further appeal. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision, Florence County v. Shannon Carter.

Oral Argument Before the U. S. Supreme Court

On October 6, 1993, the U. S. Supreme Court heard Oral Arguments in the Carter case. The transcript is available in two formats.

Transcript of Oral Argument before the U. S. Supreme Court.

In Adobe Acrobat: https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/Carter_Oral_Argument.pdf

(To read the pdf file, you need Adobe Reader which is available free at http://www.adobe.com)


U. S. Supreme Court Issues Unanimous Decision

On November 9, 34 days after oral argument, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous 9-0 decision for Shannon.
The justices ruled that if public school defaults and the child receives an appropriate education in a private placement, the parents are entitled to be reimbursed for the education that should have been provided by the School District. The case is "styled" Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7, (1993).

Information about the Carter case and the U. S. Supreme Court

Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter: The Untold Story
The story behind the story and Pete's involvement in the case and preparation for argument before the Fourth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court is in our "Advocacy Library" and known as "The Untold Story."

Three Generations at the Supreme Court
On October 6, 1993, Shannon Carter and Roger Saunders traveled to Washington, DC to hear Pete's oral argument before the U. S. Supreme Court. This article discusses the impact of the Orton Dyslexia Society members (now International Dyslexia Association) Helene Dubrow, Diana Hanbury King, Roger Saunders, and Linda Summer.

The U. S. Supreme Court

Although the U. S. Supreme Court does not maintain an official web site, you will find lots of information about the Court on the Internet.

Legal Information Institute from Cornell University: Supreme Court Collection

U. S. Supreme Court Newsletter
Subscribers receive an e-mail bulletin containing summary and analysis of important patent appeals decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit within days after they have been handed down and placed on the Internet, along with instructions on how to access those decisions in full text.

For subscription instructions, go to

Search and view full text of U. S. Supreme Court Decisions from 1937 and 1975.


The U. S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database From Northwestern University
LINK:  http://oyez.at.nwu.edu/

Take a "Virtual Tour" of the Supreme Court.

LINK: http://oyez.at.nwu.edu/tour/index.html

Legal Resources From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw Law Library
Includes caselaw, articles about tactics and strategy, special education regulations.

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
Free newsletter about legal and advocacy issues from Wrightslaw.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright.
Includes the full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and implementing regulations; decisions in landmark special education cases by the U. S. Supreme Court.

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