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Lance v. Lewisville Independent School District

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
743 F.3d 982 (2014)


Facts

Montana Lance was fourth-grade student in the Lewisville Independent School District (the school) (defendant). Lance was found to be qualified under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to receive accommodations. Lance was given an individual education plan (IEP) and a behavioral improvement plan (BIP) to address his disabilities beginning in kindergarten. Lance had difficulties with other students at the school. A few students picked on him. While he was in the fourth grade, Lance was pushed and got into a couple of physical altercations with other students. Each time, the school investigated the incident and punished some of the students, including Lance. During one incident, Lance was sent to the school psychologist and the school counselor. Lance made a comment about being suicidal, which resulted in additional meetings. Subsequently, Lance was sent to the office after another altercation with fellow students. While in the office, Lance was only permitted to use the nurse’s bathroom. Lance locked himself in the bathroom and hung himself. The nurse and custodian managed to open the bathroom door after Lance stopped responding to inquiries. Lance was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital. Lance’s parents (plaintiffs) sued the school for violating Lance’s constitutional rights and discriminating against Lance in violation of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The trial court granted summary judgment to the school. The Lances appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Higginson, J.)

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