Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District

995 F.2d 1204 (1993)

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Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
995 F.2d 1204 (1993)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Rafael Oberti (plaintiff) was a child with Down syndrome and a student in the Clementon School District (district) (defendant). Oberti was considered disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Before Oberti began kindergarten, his family met with the district to create an individualized education program (IEP). The district recommended a special education class, but the Obertis found the options unacceptable. The district put Oberti in a developmental kindergarten class, a regular education class for children not ready for kindergarten. The placement included no curriculum or behavior-management plan and no additional support services for Oberti or his teacher. Oberti showed severe behavioral issues in the class, and based on those issues, the district recommended special education placements in Oberti’s next IEP and made no future plans to mainstream Oberti. The Obertis filed a due-process complaint for alleged violations of the IDEA, and a hearing officer ruled in favor of the district, finding that the special education placement was the least restrictive environment. The Obertis filed suit in a federal district court, which reversed the hearing officer’s decision. Expert testimony at the due-process hearing and at trial was contentious but indicated that Oberti could receive significant benefits in the regular class and could succeed if provided with sufficient support services. The district appealed to the Third Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Becker, J.)

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