Such children surely deserve and require better learning opportunities designed according to their needs, and they have the right to get this education from the public sector schools. These issues consequently made the Congress to pass an act in 1975 which is known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This act assured that all the children, no matter what learning disability they have, are permitted to receive free and appropriate public education. Shannon Carter was a student in the 9th grade at Timmonsville High School in Florence County School, South Carolina. This was the time when her parents were told that their daughter would not be given education in a special education classroom, as she was suffering from dyslexia, rather she would be introduced in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which would be in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Shannon was way behind her peers in education. When she entered high school, her reading ability was at the 5th grade level. The Individualized Education Program promised that by the end of the year she would be reading on level 5.8, as her current level was5.4, it meant that Shannon would make four months progress in reading after a complete year. This confirmed the fact that she would be left further behind her class mates. This was rather not acceptable to her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Carter. They wanted her child’s reading skills to be on the grade level by graduation. The Carters requested the school authorities to take more intensive and concentrated program for Shannon, but the school refused to do so. They requested the authorities a special education due process hearing. There, the parents of Shannon Carter demanded funding for Trident Academy, a school that specialized in imparting education to children with language learning disabilities. But the hearing officer did not accept the Carters request. He was sure that the IEP was the best option for the child and it was rightly designed to meet her educational needs. The Carters then requested for a review hearing and enrolled their daughter in the Trident Academy. But yet again the decision went against them and they eventually decided to file a civil suit against the public school in the Federal District Court. In January 1988, United States District Judge Houck had a complete assessment of the previous hearings. Besides he also had additional testimony from people representing both the parties that is the Carters and the School District. After two years of hearings and court procedures, he eventually decided that the School District’s program was completely inappropriate. Shannon Carter had shown great progress in her studies at the Trident Academy which was a proof to the fact that the girl had immense talent and the program designed by the School District would not have enabled the child to make the most of her talent. The School District appealed against the decision, claiming that their designed Individualized Education Program was best suited and valid. In return they raise a new issue and charged the allegation that even if the School District failed to provide Free Appropriate Public Education, the court should still deny the parents’ claim for compensation because the Trident Academy was not on the list of approved special education institutes of South Carolina. But unlike the other states of America, South Carolina did not have
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