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Horton v. Boone County School District

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

September 11, 2013

DAKOTA HORTON, Plaintiff,
v.
BOONE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM O. BERTELSMAN, District Judge.

This matter came before the Court on Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 5) on Thursday, September 5, 2013. After oral argument, the Court took the motion under further advisement. See Doc. 10.

Having made a thorough review of the record, and given careful consideration to the memoranda and oral arguments of the parties, the Court now issues the following Memorandum Opinion and Order.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In March 2006, while Plaintiff Dakota Horton was enrolled at Gray Middle School in the Boone County School District, it was determined that Plaintiff was eligible for accommodations under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 due to his Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). See Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 16. The accommodations provided under Plaintiff's § 504 Plan included seating at the front of the classroom, peer tutoring, and extended time to turn in assignments. Id. at ¶ 18.

Plaintiff's § 504 Plan also provided that the § 504 Plan would be reviewed and revised, if necessary, on an annual basis. Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff's § 504 Plan was reviewed and revised in both his seventh and eighth-grade years at Gray Middle School. Id. at ¶¶ 22, 24.

In the fall of 2008, Plaintiff enrolled at Ryle High School. Id. at ¶ 25. Upon his enrollment, Plaintiff's entire student file, which included his § 504 Plan, was forwarded to Ryle High School. Id. at ¶ 26.

The Boone County School District's § 504 procedures provide that each § 504 Plan must be reviewed by a § 504 team as needed, but at least every three (3) years. Id. at ¶ 29. Additionally, the procedures provide that it is the responsibility of the appropriate § 504 team member to initiate the review and schedule a plan review meeting. Id.

Plaintiff asserts that during his entire tenure at Ryle High School his § 504 Plan was never reviewed or reevaluated. Id. at ¶ 35. As a result, Plaintiff contends, his math grades while at Ryle High School were consistently substandard. Id. at ¶ 36. Although Plaintiff and his parents met with his teachers to review his schedule at the beginning of each school year, his § 504 Plan was never reviewed or discussed. Id. at ¶¶ 38-39.

At the beginning of his senior year, Plaintiff approached Guidance Counselor Erik Arkenberg and requested to be transferred to a different math class. Id. at ¶ 42. Plaintiff contends that Arkenberg advised him to seek out tutoring assistance. Id. at ¶ 43.

Plaintiff also asserts that despite turning eighteen (18) in December 2011, his parents never received a "Parents' Rights Statement" as is required under § 504 when a student reaches the age of majority. Id. at ¶¶ 44-45.

A few months prior to his graduation, Plaintiff and his mother were notified that Plaintiff might not be able to participate in his graduation ceremony due to his substandard grades. Id. at ¶ 46.

On April 26, 2012, Plaintiff and his mother met with "various administrators of Ryle High School, including [Plaintiff's] Algebra II teacher, Mr. Holtman, to discuss the possibility that [Plaintiff] may not graduate due to his failing Algebra II." Id. at ¶ 47. At this meeting, Plaintiff's mother reminded the administrators of Plaintiff's need for § 504 accommodations. Id. at ¶ 48. Mr. Holtman responded that he was aware of Plaintiff's § 504 Plan and he had provided Plaintiff the opportunity to sit at the front of the class and turn assignments in late. Id.

Ultimately, due to his grades, Plaintiff was not permitted to walk in his graduation ceremony or attend his senior class trip. Id. at ¶ 50.

On May 18, 2012, Plaintiff's parents met with Assistant Principal Nate Niemi to discuss Plaintiff's § 504 Plan. Id. at ¶ 51. At this meeting, Niemi told Plaintiff's parents that Plaintiff had been offered the accommodations outlined in his § 504 Plan, but ...


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