Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Student Suicide Case Allowed to Proceed Under Rehabilitation Act and ADA Claims

In the case of Beam v. Western Wayne School District, No. 3:15-CV-01126 (M.D. Pa. 2018 Caputo, J.), the Federal Middle District Court of Pennsylvania denied a Defendant school district’s motion for summary judgment relative to claims filed by parents following their son's suicide.

In this case, the Plaintiffs alleged that the school district failed to properly implement an educational plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA on behalf of a disabled student who had ADHD.  According to the allegations, the student committed suicide on the last day of school allegedly as a result of academic failures stemming from the failures of the school to implement the educational plan.  The parents asserted that the school was responsible for their son's suicide because officials failed to notify them that their son was struggling academically, which was allegedly required under the education plan.

Judge A. Richard Caputo
M.D. Pa.
In a previous ruling in this case, Judge Caputo had dismissed a failure to prevent suicide claim presented by the Plaintiffs.

The defense asserted that the Plaintiff's were attempting to recast a failure to prevent suicide claim as a violation of the Section 504 and the ADA.  The Court rejected this defense and noted that issues of fact compelled the Court to deny the school district's request for summary judgment on the claims presented.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Court's companion Order can be viewed HERE.

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