Jackson v. Chicago Public Schools et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Signed by the Honorable Harry D. Leinenweber on 6/13/2017: Ruling date of 6/27/2017 is stricken.Terminate civil case.Mailed notice(wp, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
KIMYUNA JACKSON, MOTHER OF
PLAINTIFF A MINOR CHILD,
JABARI LAMAR JACKSON,
15 C 6990
Judge Harry D. Leinenweber
CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, et
al. and THE ILLINOIS STATE
BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
which identified the Plaintiff-student’s special education needs
and services in a timely manner under the circumstances of this
Because the Plaintiff has failed to sustain her burden of
Judgment is denied and the case is dismissed with prejudice.
This case has had a tortured procedural history due to the
Plaintiff proceeding pro se.
Back in August 2015 the Plaintiff
filed a four-count Complaint against the Board to assert a tort
(sexual assault) claim (Count I), and seeking to overturn the
receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”), (2)
the IHO exhibited and “unethical [sic] bias” toward plaintiffs
during the due process hearing, and (3) that the Board violated
the State and federal requirement that that Plaintiff’s IEP be
issued within 60 days of receiving a parental consent for an
On August 18, 2015, the Court
dismissed Count I as inappropriate for an administrative review
proceeding and summarized all of her remaining claims as seeking
judicial review of the IHO’s decision approving the IEP for the
On February 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion
seeking Summary Judgment on the four counts of her Complaint as
originally filed, even though the Court had dismissed Count I
and consolidated her remaining claims into a single count.
Court summarily denied her Motion because, among other things,
it violated Local Rule 56.1, and warned Plaintiff that if she
wished to refile she needed to focus on the limited issue of
whether the IHO’s decision was erroneous.
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She then filed a
comply with Local Rule 56.1.
The Court once more denied her
Motion and again warned her that she needed to focus on the IHO
Plaintiff, now represented by counsel, filed her third Motion
timeliness issue, to the exclusion of her claims that the Board
had not provided Plaintiff with a FAPE or provided necessary
services in a timely manner, and her ethnic bias claim.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
(“IDEA”), local agencies such as the Board have an affirmative
duty to identify, locate and evaluate a potentially disabled
Failure to do so constitutes a denial of a
FAPE, and is a violation of the IDEA.
hearing before an IHO.
Under the IDEA a party
The decision of the IHO in turn is
reviewable by a federal district court, with the party seeking
relief bearing the burden of proof.
The reviewing court’s role
reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational
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The reviewing court is to make its decision on a
preponderance of the evidence standard, and shall grant such
The normal procedure before the reviewing court is to rule
by summary judgment at the request of either party or both.
administrative review differs from the standard set forth in
Rule 56 (FED. R. CIV. P. 56).
In this proceeding the court
reviews the administrative record together with any additional
preponderance of the evidence in the record.
The court also
owes considerable deference to the hearing officer and may set
aside the administrative order only if is strongly convinced
that the order is erroneous.
Evanston Community Consolidated
School Dist. v. Michael M., 356 F.3d 798, 793 (7th Cir. 2004).
THE DUE PROCESS HEARING
On June 3, 2015, a due process hearing was held before the
Plaintiff represented herself at the hearing.
failed to provide the required pre-hearing disclosures ordered
by the IHO at a prehearing conference.
At the hearing she also
withdrew the list of witnesses she had previously provided to
At the hearing, the Board presented six witnesses all
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of whom had participated in the evaluation of the Plaintiff and
development of his IEP.
The Plaintiff testified in her own
behalf but presented no other witnesses, nor did she offer any
documents into evidence.
She did, however, conduct a cross-
examination of the Board’s witnesses.
Following the due process hearing the IHO found in favor of
the Board on all contested issues, including a finding that the
Illinois’ 60 school day time line although the IEP itself was
developed outside the 60-day timeline.
The IHO found that the
that the delay was due to Plaintiff’s failure to attend the
scheduled meetings where the IEP was developed and the Board’s
The specific factual findings made by the IHO upon which
she relied to excuse the 60-day violation (with which Plaintiff
apparently does not take issue, at least she did not do so at
the due process hearing) included that the Board had made its
evaluation and its determination of eligibility of plaintiff for
an IEP within the 60-day deadline, but was not able to finalize
the IEP by that due date.
The IHO found that the delay in
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completing the IEP was due to the Board’s effort to include the
Plaintiff mother in the development of the IEP.
The IHO then
described the specific efforts the Board undertook to try to
involve the Plaintiff in the development of her son’s IEP.
included a scheduling a meeting between the Board and Plaintiff
to be held within the 60-day deadline, at which Plaintiff did
multiple written notices and telephone calls to Plaintiff urging
her to attend the scheduled meetings; and finally Plaintiff’s
failure to attend or at least acknowledge the invitations.
development of the IEP was to point out that the final IEP did
expense which was prior to his enrollment at his school.
She also complains that the Board did not include
a “safety plan” in the IEP, which she contends was necessitated
by an incident that allegedly occurred in January 2015.
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present any evidence to support a finding that the Plaintiff’s
witnesses who she claimed could support such a finding and did
not herself testify about any such concerns she may have had.
safety plan was necessary.
public education for their children.
The statutory basis for
this right is found in Section 1414(b)(1) which gives parents of
a child the right to examine all records and to participate in
all meetings with respect to the development of an IEP.
amounts to a statutory mandate that the parents be given the
statutory mandate to penalize the Board because it was unable to
complete the IEP within the 60-day deadline because it went out
of its way to include the Plaintiff in the development of her
The IHO’s decision that the delay was excusable is
supported by a preponderance of the evidence and the plaintiff’s
motion for summary judgment is denied.
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One final note.
The Plaintiff moved for summary judgment
The Board did not file a Cross-Motion.
court would only issue a decision limited to what is requested
supplemented there appears to be no reason not to issue a final
judgment disposing of the case.
Here the Plaintiff takes issue
only with one of many findings of the IHO:
the timeliness of
The Plaintiff did not offer any evidence at the due
process hearing (other than her own testimony) and she did not
raise objections to any other part of the IHO’s decision.
Since the record supports all parts of the decision, the
Court denies the Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and
enters judgment in favor of the Board sui sponte.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge
United States District Court
Dated: June 13, 2017
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