Endrew F. vs Douglas County School District

Ta’Kema Sims

Endrew F. is an autistic fifth grade student that attended a school in Douglass county and was then placed in a private school because his parents believed his public-school education was inadequate. Because of their beliefs, Endrew was placed in Firefly Autism House where his parents sued for reimbursement of Endrew’s private school tuition and related expenses pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The Individuals with Disabilities Act states that if a free public school cannot meet the educational needs of a disabled student, then the student’s parents may enroll their child in a private school and seek reimbursement for tuition and related expenses. This case first went to an Administrative Law Judge for review.

The Administrative Law Judge rejected Endrew’s parent’s request for reimbursement concluding that Endrew’s public school had provided him with “free appropriate public education” as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The district court affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling and held that Endrew’s parents failed to meet their burden to prove that Endrew was not provided with free appropriate public education. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed. When the Supreme Court made their final decision on the case in Mar 22, 2017 they ruled a stunning vote of 8-0 in favor of a higher standard of education for children with disabilities.

This wraps into the topic that we were discussing about landmark cases in class, because of this case children with disabilities are about to be evaluated properly and placed in the right program or school that will be able to help them. This was an interesting case to me because a child who has no control over how he was created was involved. If the ruling was any different the child would have suffered the most. If a parent knows that their child has a disability and is not as up to pace with the other kids, they shouldn’t be told by a school that they are wrong unless the child physically proves otherwise. This case took over a year for it to be finally decided.



What are the advantages and the disadvantages of each method of interpretation used in interpreting the Constitution?

Textualism, literalism, or strict construction involves looking at the meaning of the words in the Constitution and giving each phrase, word, or clause its ordinary meaning. The advantage of this is that it keeps the supreme court neutral and helps justices avoid imposing their values and beliefs on the Constitution. A disadvantage is that there might be some disagreement on exactly what the meaning is. Original intent or original history focuses more on the question of how to interpret words, phrases, or clauses that are not clear. An advantage of this is it focuses on what the Founders originally intended for the maintenance, stability and neutrality of the law. A disadvantage is not all questions are answered in the Constitution and there are some disagreements on the interpretation of the words. Fundamental principles are a useful way to determine the meaning of words and stuff that may not be clear through natural rights, etc. A disadvantage to this and modernism is that people feel as if it gives the justices too much power to decide cases according to their personal and political beliefs. An advantage for modernism is that justices should not hold back social progress by adhering to outmoded understandings of the Constitution.


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