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Lone Hill Middle School - News Release


News Release - October 26, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 23, 2003):

United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

Bonita Unified School District and
Lone Hill Middle School, “A California Distinguished School”

with Federal Law!

In a series of cases, that have now raged on for nearly two school years, a father prevails again against Bonita Unified School District for illegally exiting his son from special education, with neither his knowledge nor consent and then denying his student access to services he was entitled to receive under Federal law. The United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has just determined that the District has failed to provide this student with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) since the Fall of 2000! Since these matters were first discovered, the Bonita Unified District has apparently spent an enormous amount of money in legal fees trying to defend themselves for their despicable acts and their ongoing refusal to provide services to the student!

The American Society for Education condemns Bonita Unified School District for the harm they have inflicted upon not just the student involved in this case but, apparently, on every special education student in their deplorable district. One of the items the OCR investigation uncovered is that the District has been using employment law pertaining to adults and not to elementary or secondary students in school settings, as part of their written policy governing the assessment and placement of students with special needs! Furthermore, based upon information received by ASEE, it appears as if this policy has been in place since 1993, if not before. This is an outrage and reflects what we believe to be nothing less than gross incompetence by district administrators. ASEE demands the resignation of Bonita USD superintendent, Robert Otto and special education coordinator, Cathy Shehan, as the two top district administrators responsible for overseeing the welfare of special needs students.

ASEE is also greatly disturbed that the District, by spending enormous sums of money on legal fees trying to protect themselves for denying services to a student (based upon the services he was receiving prior to the time Bonita Unified School District started denying him a FAPE, the cost to the district would have been absolutely minimal), chose to fight not only the current OCR case, but the two other state cases in which the father prevailed against the district that were filed with California Department of Education (CDE), Special Education Division. The CDE also determined that the District was out of compliance with state law. It is known that an additional case is currently pending against the District with the United States Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office on allegations that they intentionally shredded documents, in direct violation of the Family Educational Rights Protection Act (FERPA), in order to prevent the father from seeing them!

As the father, and his student, have now prevailed in three cases (two State and one Federal), ASEE urges all parents to be aware of the protections afforded to special needs children under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and FERPA. ASEE strongly encourages all parents to file complaints against the district whenever they believe their student rights have been denied.

For further information on this, and other cases brought against Bonita Unified School District and Lone Hill Middle School (this link will take you directly to the findings of the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights), “A California Distinguished School,” be sure to visit the American Society for Ethics in Education at: