Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Attorneys Find Favorable Decision for Swampscott Public Schools
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane attorneys Mary Ellen Sowyrda, Doris Ehrens, and Felicia Vasudevan worked together in receiving a favorable decision for Swampscott at the BSEA and District Court. Mary Ellen handled the BSEA litigation, Doris Ehrens completed all of the pleadings in District Court, and Felicia Vasudevan delivered the oral argument.
Swampscott Public School (“Swampscott”), along with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”) had an appeal filed against them (collectively, “Defendants”) by the Parents of a minor, G.D., requesting a summary judgement. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), all schools are required to provide eligible students with a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”). The Plaintiffs argued that Swampscott did not provide FAPEto the student, G.D, even after being evaluated and approved for special education services. The Parents held firm on their belief that G.D. needed to keep attending a private special education school. Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, a firm that represents over one hundred school districts across Massachusetts, represented Swampscott in this litigation.
At age 7 G.D. was diagnosed with “a significant language-based learning disability, encompassing ‘double-deficit’ dyslexia and dysgraphia as well as some related difficulties with expressive language”. G.D. was evaluated and qualified for the special education services in Swampscott. The Parents, however, wanted to be reimbursed by Swampscott for G.D. tuition at a private school, as they did not believe Swampscott had the resources that G.D. needed to excel. Swampscott provided G.D. with an IEP, and began second grade at Swampscott in September 2017. The Hearing Officer stated “the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that Swampscott developed five successive IEPs that responded to Student’s special needs, increasing services as the extent of those needs became clearer.”
The Parents then argued that the Hearing Officer erred in the determination that G.D. was offered a FAPE by Swampscott, claiming that the student’s rate of gains did not satisfy the Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. RE-1 decision.,
The District Court concluded that the student’s progress in Swampscott was appropriate in light of the circumstances as the Hearing Officer held and denied the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement, finding for Swampscott and the BSEA.
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents Discriminatory Harassment Prevention Training for Managers
Kathryn Murphy, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP presented a training session last month titled “Discriminatory Harassment Prevention Training for Managers”. Ms. Murphy began the training session with an introduction to legal basics where she emphasizes that discrimination is prohibited in any aspect of employment, and that the law prohibits discrimination against an individual based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, etc. The second section of the training outlined specific policies Read More
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) which provides for a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package. State and local governments, and also many educational entities, will receive substantial funding. Having endured the last year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, both states and local governments, as well as schools, have experienced unexpected expenses, losses in revenues, and budgetary burdens. The purpose of this Client Alert is to explain generally how funds from the ARPA relief aid have been designated to alleviate those COVID-19-related challenges.