Legal Action - Amicus Brief
Case Name: 9th Circuit, Timothy O, et. al. v. Paso Robles School District
Date of Filing: January 12, 2015
Drafted on behalf of Learning Rights by Nixon Peabody LLP
9th Circuit, Timothy O, et. al. v. Paso Robles School District
Learning Rights filed an amicus brief on January 12, 2015 in the 9th circuit in the case of Timothy O, et. al. v. Paso Robles School District. In this case, the student, L.O., was not evaluated by the District in all areas of suspected disability, namely autism—despite a Regional Center diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Instead, Paso Robles relied upon a brief observation by a school psychologist who simply said that L.O. did not “look autistic.” The District also alleged that it relied on the Regional Center assessment, and therefore did not need to fully assess.
Learning Rights argued that reliance on a Regional Center assessment does not meet a school district’s obligations under IDEA. A Regional Center assessment may create suspicion of a disability, but cannot substitute for a district assessment to determine eligibility for special education services. Learning Rights focused its brief on the need for early, particularized education for students with autism spectrum disorders, and the pernicious effects of mis-assessing (or failing to assess) these students. As a legal services non-profit devoted to ensuring education access, particularly for students with disabilities like L.O., Learning Rights has seen firsthand the devastating effects of a district’s failure to properly assess. For low-income families, a district’s assessment is often the critical first step of meeting a student’s unique needs.
The amicus brief was drafted on behalf of Learning Rights by Nixon Peabody LLP.