A former student and her mother are suing the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, alleging that the district failed to provide sufficient accommodations for the student’s disability.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Nov. 13 and is ongoing. It was first reported in the Palo Alto Daily Post.
The former student, referred to as N.N. in court documents, was diagnosed with anxiety as a sophomore during the 2017-2018 school year, according to the suit.
After having “moderate levels of suicidal ideation” and attempting to run away from home, her mother decided to place her in a therapeutic wilderness treatment program in Utah and then a residential treatment center in Montana.
The district offered N.N. an accommodations plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, often informally called a “504 plan.” The accommodations included extra time on assignments and tests, as well as monthly meetings with academic teachers. However, the district did not assess her for special education until after she left for Utah, and ultimately determined that she didn’t meet the criteria for special education, according to the suit.
“The District failed to provide N.N. with reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable her to meaningfully access her education,” the suit states.
The lawsuit is in part an appeal of a decision by an administrative law judge with the California Office of Administrative Hearings, which sided with the district last August, determining that the student wasn’t eligible for special education.
“We agreed with the ruling in the summer, that ruled in favor of MVLA,” Superintendent Nellie Meyer said. “But past that, I do not have a comment.”
The district filed a response to the lawsuit last month.
A lawyer for the student and her mother did not respond to an email requesting comment.