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Childhood Disease for Their Daughter Article Review

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Article Review

Cindi Gould

Ottawa University

Dr. Schwartz

     “ June 22, 2007, was the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley(I) (hereafter Rowley; 1982). In Rowley, the Supreme Court interpreted congressional intent in requiring that public schools provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This ruling- which is arguably the most important special education decision by the high court-has had a profound effect on the education of students with disabilities.” (

     This article highlights the fight two parents, Nancy and Clifford Rowley, who both had become deaf from childhood disease for their daughter.  The Rowley’s had two beautiful children together, their son John was born with normal hearing and then they had a daughter Amy, she was also born with normal hearing, but unfortunately she also lost her hearing due to a childhood disease.  When Amy was to enter Kindergarten Mrs. Rowley met with the principal of Furnace Woods Elementary in the Hendrick Hudson Central School District, Montrose, New York.  Nancy was a certified teacher of deaf students, yet she wanted Amy to attend Furnace woods and to be mainstreamed into general education with the use of sign language interpreter in the classroom. The New York School for the Deaf could not meet Amy’s academic needs, so the fight for her to attend Furnace Woods began with a specialized IEP began.  

   The Rowley’s filed a complaint under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, this complaint “alleged that the school district violated Amy’s civil rights because it had failed to provide a sign language interpreter.”  Amy was assigned an interpreter, but that was short lived.  She was deemed to be doing well after a 9 day trial period, by the interpreter and it was decided that an interpreter was not needed at this time in her academic career. Although, one would be needed at a later date when the schoolwork became harder and she would be engaging in large group discussions.  When the task came to rewrite her IEP for first grade, she was still not guaranteed an interpreter, and the Rowley’s refused to sign the IEP.  They then hired a lawyer (one who was also deaf) and the uphill battle for Amy began.  There was a hearing that ruled in favor of the school providing Amy with an appropriate education.  The Rowley’s went through the process again with an appeal and were told the same exact thing. In September and October of 1979, Judge Vincent Broderick of the U.S. District Court heard their case.  Judge Broderick ruled in favor of the Rowley’s.  The school district appealed the case where this case finally found it’s way to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme court ruled a school must provide equal educational opportunities to a student with disabilities.  The purpose was to open the door of public education to handicapped children on appropriate terms.  A two-part test was developed for courts to use to determine if a school as met its obligations under IDEA to provide a FAPE. This article goes on to discuss such issues of how to fairly assess if a school district has provided FAPE.  

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