Anti-Common Core Lawsuit Filed in Utah

A lawsuit has been filed in Utah against the Alpine School District.  This is the second lawsuit related to the Common Core that I am aware of.  The first was in Kentucky.  The petition contains:

  1. Allegations of sustained emotional abuse towards mother and 11-year old son.
  2. Allegations of retaliation for exercising parental right of participation in Public School
  3. Allegations of retaliation for utilizing professional help linked to “Anti-Common Core” advocacy.
  4. Allegations of unethical and invalid use of psychological testing to conform to predetermined outcome.
  5. Allegations of ignoring parent’s desperate pleas for assistance for son.
  6. Allegation of callous attitude towards parents as exhibited in 50 pages of “obtained” Alpine District inter-office/district emails.
  7. Forwarding files/petition and evidence to Utah Attorney General’s Office for investigation.
  8. Civil Suit for Tort damages pending.
  9. Obtained District Email Thread over past 8 months.

Oak Norton of Utahns Against Common Core is more familiar with the case, but I was emailed last night about it as well.  Here’s an excerpt from Oak’s article on it.

In this instance a child in Alpine School District who is very bright and academically advanced, was prevented from advancing to his appropriate skill level and has been psychologically damaged as a result of the public education system’s insistence on pounding square pegs into round holes to make all children common. Common Core hurts children both at the upper and lower end of the learning spectrum by forcing them to advance at the pace of the group. It is true conveyor belt education in the worst possible way. In speaking with Dr. Gary Thompson (this family’s psychologist) and Ed Flint (their attorney), about their 45-page petition filed with the court, Common Core’s top down, one-size-fits-all approach to education is a firm part of the educational system that prevents gifted and special needs children from getting the educational experience they need. This is precisely what has happened in this case. Although the petition never mentions “Common Core” by name, Dr. Thompson explained that it absolutely plays a part in how the system prevented this child from advancing to an appropriate skill level since he was far beyond the course work being presented to him.

Below are excerpts from the petition, I have removed anything that would identify the student, school, parents, etc.

1. “Student is the son of Petitioners Dr & Mrs. T, currently residing at xxxxxxxx., xxxxxxxxx, Utah, where Student T is an advanced gifted student at xxxx xxxxx Middle School, assigned to the 7th Grade…..”

2. “Within 30-45 days of student T new assignment to Mrs. ___’s classroom, the parents respectfully and professionally advised, in writing, Student T’s teachers and counselors of serious concerns with his behavior, attitude and apparent boredom with the schoolwork he was assigned. No attempts were made to determine whether Student T might have developed an emotional disability that might be affecting him, as required by Child Find. 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(3)(A). (Exhibit P2, Emails from Mrs. T to Mrs. ____ dated January 27, 2013 and (his teacher’s) response dated 1/29/13)….”

3. “Problems and contention quickly arose with (his teacher). Mrs. T. and (his teacher) kept in regular contact through email, and although (his teacher) engaged in some unprofessional name calling (Referring to Student T as “The goof” (see Exhibit P3, Email dated March 22, 2013) and assumptions of laziness based on failure to turn in assignments, there was no attempt to seek testing or evaluation of T to determine if there was a learning disability or mental health issue that might be affecting him, as required by “Child Find………”

4. “On “the record” (the entire IEP Determination meeting was digitally recorded, in open view of all attendees, and after advance written notice of intent to so record), Dr. Thompson summarily informed the entire VHMS team that in his experience of attending close to 500 IEP meetings, he has never seen the amount of unethical, illegal and harmful behavior by a group of public school educators in his entire career. ……“

5. “Taking into account the totality of the Petitioner’s experiences, written documentation via emails to the Petitioner’s spanning over a year, apparent violations of “Child Find’ obligations by the District, callous inter-office emails between the VHMS staff and Alpine District Administrators, the inclusion of invalid “testing” materials into the decision making process despite multiple and specific formal objections by the Petitioner’s Advocate regarding multiple serious ethical errors and practices associated with testing, submission of emotional “testing” results from the VHMS that indicated that Student T displayed absolutely “perfect” mental health, the Petitioners and Advocate Dr. Gary Thompson believe that this “decision” was made prior to the meeting with Petitioners, and the decision was merely relayed to Petitioners at the meeting……”

6. “These actions resulted in multiple and repeated violations to the educational and civil rights of Student T, and ultimately has resulted in a denial of FAPE (“Free and Appropriate Public School Education). Petitioners will prove via documentation, expert testimony from a pediatric neuro-psychologist, peer reviewed research in child clinical psychology, email exchanges between the District and the Petitioners, copies of email communications between VHMS and Alpine District, and transcripts from the IEP meeting that Alpine District knowingly conspired to deprive Student T from obtaining special education services afforded under the 2004 IDEA, which resulted in a blatant and dangerous denial of FAPE…….”

7. “The VHMS team forwarded what they purported to be, all assessment results to the (Student T’s) family on Friday, January 24, 2014. A review of their assessment showed that absolutely no valid testing or inquiries into Student T’s confirmed anxiety and depressive issues were part of the assessment performed by the VHMS Special Education Team. This dangerous pattern of conforming evaluation protocols and results to preconceived, “one-size-fits-all” evaluation procedures not only resulted in a final evaluation that was invalid, unscientific and not comprehensive in nature, it was the final piece of conclusive evidence that joined a long line of factual events, evidence and behaviors which led the Petitioners and a experienced Education Advocate to conclude that Alpine District performed a fraudulent, unethical and ultimately dangerous evaluation of Student T…..”

8. “Given the totality of the record, counsel for the Petitioners, licensed doctoral level clinicians and advocates for the Petitioners, and the Petitioners themselves are shocked at the level of apparent disconnect and callousness exhibited by Alpine School District towards Student T. Petitioners allege that Alpine School District retaliated against the Petitioners for exercising their rights of parental choice and involvement in their child’s public education experience, and expressed contempt after the Petitioners retained the services of Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center to assist them with obtaining relief for their wonderfully complex, quirky and gifted child.”