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Mr. I. v. Maine School Administrative District No. 55

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
480 F.3d 1 (2007)


Facts

LI (plaintiff) was a sixth-grade student at the Maine School Administrative District Number 55 (the district) (defendant), attending Cornish Elementary School. LI was generally a good student and had been receiving high honors. However, in the fifth and sixth grade, LI’s grades dropped to honors, and she had difficulties with her peer relationships. LI began experiencing sadness and anxiety. LI had wounds on her arms that appeared to be self-inflicted. During her sixth-grade year, LI attempted suicide by overdosing on prescription medications. LI was then diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a developmental disability on the autism spectrum that is associated with significant misperceptions of otherwise-routine elements of daily life. The medical specialists treating LI recommended that she receive direct teaching of social skills. LI’s parents requested an individualized education plan (IEP) for LI from the district. The pupil-evaluation team (PET) considered the request. The PET accepted the medical diagnosis but determined that LI was not eligible for an IEP, because her condition did not significantly affect her academic performance. LI appealed this decision to a hearing officer, who affirmed the decision. LI then filed a lawsuit in district court to review the decision. The district court determined that LI did qualify as a student with a disability. The district appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Howard, J.)

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