Subj: ALERT! PARENTS OF CHILD WITH AUTISM PREVAIL IN 4TH CIRCUIT (JULY 11, 2001)
Date: 7/11/01 8:42:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wrightslaw)
To: email@example.com (THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE)
On July 10, 2001, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News Public Schools. Pete is the attorney who represents Stefan.
At age two, Stefan Jaynes was diagnosed with autism. When his parents tried to get early intervention services from the school district, they ran into resistance. Although the district developed an IEP for Stefan, the district did not involve Stefan's parents, nor did the district advise the parents of their rights.
When the parents contacted the district for help, Newport News "either ignored or denied their requests." The IEP was not implemented for several months.
When the district placed Stefan in a generic preschool program, he regressed. His parents pulled him out of this program and implemented an intensive Lovaas/ABA program.
ANATOMY OF A SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE
After the parents learned that they had a right to a due process hearing, they requested a hearing and won. The Hearing Officer awarded the parents $117,000.
When a Review Officer reduced this award by half, Pete appealed to federal court.
On September 7, U. S. District Court Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. issued a favorable decision and awarded Stefan's parents $103,000.
The court found that Newport News' IEPs contained numerous deficiencies. The court also found that the district unilaterally "eliminated numerous programs from the IEP [but] provided no explanation or justification for striking these programs."
Newport News appealed to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. On June 7, the Court of Appeals heard oral argument. On July 10, the court issued this decision in Stefan's case:
You can download the pleadings and decisions in this case from "Anatomy of a Special Education Case" at
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We expect this decision to evoke questions for many readers. We are writing an article about Stefan Jaynes' case which we will publish within the next few weeks. If you have a specific factual, legal, or procedural question about THIS CASE, please send your question by email to:
We will try to answer your questions in the forthcoming article.