In The Media
Boulder Valley School District Considers Stand Alone Autism Program
The firm frequently represents parents seeking a private placement for their child when public schools cannot meet the student's needs. Many of these students are on the autism spectrum. Louise Bouzari was interviewed by the Boulder Daily Camera for an article regarding this issue.
Elizabeth E. Case
Kate Gerland and Louise Bouzari represented the parents in the Elizabeth E. v. Jefferson County School District case beginning in August 2009 when the case went to due process in August 2009, until its culmination in July 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert and let the decision of the Tenth Court of Appeals stand. Elizabeth and her parents were successful every step of the way, and each decision was strongly worded in their favor. Elizabeth qualified for an IEP in large part because of her mental health challenges, which made accessing an education extremely difficult. She had initially been able to receive an appropriate education from a private school in Denver, which her parents and the school district paid for jointly under a negotiated agreement. However, as Elizabeth's mental health needs grew, that placement became insufficient to meet her needs. Her parents eventually hospitalized Elizabeth so that she could be assessed and so that they could obtain a recommendation concerning her next placement. At that point, Jefferson County refused all responsibility for Elizabeth's education because the hospital was located outside Colorado. Likewise, when her parents placed her in a residential school in Idaho upon the hospital's recommendation, the school district continued to refuse to work with her parents based on the fact that the school was located outside Colorado. Furthermore, the school district refused the parents' repeated requests to hold an IEP meeting to discuss placement options for Elizabeth. The due process hearing officer held that the Idaho placement was appropriate for Elizabeth, and that the school district's refusal to convene an IEP meeting or otherwise work with the parents constituted a denial of FAPE. The hearing officer ordered reimbursement for the cost of the private placement, and the administrative law judge, U.S. district judge, and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals all affirmed. These court decisions as well as a brief news article summarizing the Tenth Circuit's decision can be downloaded with the following links:
District 11 Case
The firm represented four children with mental health disabilities who alleged that they had been severely mistreated by their special education teacher and the staff at Will Rogers Elementary School in Colorado Springs District 11. The allegations arose after a report was issued by a Colorado nonprofit organization that serves as the state's official advocacy and protection agency, The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People. Among other things, The Legal Center contended that Will Rogers had violated the Colorado rules concerning restraint and seclusion because the children were put in a closed timeout room for long periods of time. We settled the case in a confidential settlement through a private mediator. The case attracted significant media attention before the parents retained our firm. To read The Legal Center's Report and media coverage about this case, click on the following links: