S-1 v. Turlington

635 F.2d 342 (1981)

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S-1 v. Turlington

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
635 F.2d 342 (1981)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Nine students (S-1 through S-9) (plaintiffs) were disabled children in the Hendry County School System (school system) (defendant). S-7 and S-9 voluntarily unenrolled from school and requested due-process hearings to create or evaluate individualized education programs for themselves. The school system denied the requests. The remaining students were expelled from school for various behavioral issues. S-1 was evaluated by the superintendent to determine whether his conduct was related to his disability and chose to expel S-1 upon finding that S-1 was not seriously emotionally disturbed. The other expelled students did not request, and the school system did not provide, due-process hearings to determine whether the behavioral issues were manifestations of their disabilities. All nine students filed suit against the school system for alleged violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against the school system. The court found that the school system improperly denied S-7 and S-9 due-process hearings. The court also found that under the IDEA, disabled children could not be expelled for disability-related misconduct and that the school system violated the IDEA by failing to properly determine whether the students’ misconduct was related to their disabilities. The school system appealed to the Fifth Circuit, arguing that disabled students were exempt from expulsion due to disability-related misconduct only if the students were classified as seriously emotionally disturbed. The school system further argued that the burden rested on students to raise the question of whether their misconduct was related to a disability. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling for students S-7 and S-9 and then addressed the remaining students’ claims.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hatchett, J.)

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