Jarron Draper v. Atlanta Public SchoolsJarron Draper has dyslexia, a language-based learning disability. Despite of his efforts, he couldn’t read and go to college due to the failure of Atlanta Public Schools to provide him with a free special education program. This violated Section 504 and was the basis for Draper’s complaint.
The case concluded when the Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision in favor of Draper. The court ordered Atlanta Public Schools to pay for Draper’s tuition at a private special education school as compensatory education for their persistent failure to provide him with adequate education.
Dragan says, "They missed deadlines all over the place. They were supposed to evalaute Jarron, uh, and they didn't, and they, in my opinion, also misdiagnosed him. I don't believe that they would have picked it up."
But the school system itself came in for blistering criticism from a state administrative law judge who heard three days testimony last fall about Jarron's case -- trying to determine what, if any, compensatory education this system has to provide Jarron to make up for the sytem's mistakes.
Judge Stephen Caley describes it as, "The school system's incompetence in properly educating...(Jarron)...." He notes that an expert witness for the system - "Did not know (Jarron's) correct age."
He singles out Dr. Icey Johnson -- a top special ed official -- saying she - "spent much of the hearing leaning back in her chair with her eyes closed whenever a witness was testifying on (Jarron's) behalf."
The judge describes it as - "hostility from persons who claim to be professional educators."
Denice Morgan almost couldn't believe what she was reading. She says, "We are just so excited. And when we got the, uh, the order, tears came to my eye, and i'm a tough lady to, to even want to cry. We feel vindicated."
Jarron says he believes school officials were trying to tell him that he and his family didn't know what they were doing. No more.
Jarron says, "I proved them wrong. We, my family stands by me united together, and we stand strong, and we're going to continue to stand strong together to get my education."
But school officials have a sharply different view of the ruling. And -- contrary to the judge's order -- they still insist they did not misdiagnosis Jarron Draper.
Dr. Arletta Brinson of Atlanta Public Schools says, "I have not seen a document that, in my opinion, was so thoroughly one-sided and did not take into account all of the expert testimony."
Judge Caley calls the evidence against the school system overwhelming.
He has ordered compensatory education, including -- if the family chooses -- private school of up to $15,000 a year, paid for by the taxpayers. Of Jarron, he says, "A lesser spirit would have been crushed -- long ago."