The Lubbock Cooper Independent School District sued two parents on Thursday and those same two parents sued the LCISD on Friday.
The dueling lawsuits were filed in Lubbock federal court.
Court records said Sherri and Christopher Dennis requested a due process hearing with the Texas Education Agency this year after a dispute with LCISD. The Dennis family have a student enrolled in high school who suffers disabilities, according to their lawsuit.
(Note: EverythingLubbock.com is aware of the specific disability but chose not to republish it at this time due to privacy concerns for the student.)
The family’s lawsuit also claimed that LCISD “denied … a free appropriate public education for the 2016-2017 school year.” In other words, they claim that LCISD failed to make appropriate accommodations for the student’s disability.
State regulators sided with the Dennis family and ordered LCISD to make a list of accommodations. The state’s order and finding of facts was 34 pages.
The state also ordered LCISD to set aside $61,200 for the benefit of the student. The parents have discretion on how the money should be spent.
The school district was also ordered to pay other costs as well. Court records indicate LCISD must hand over $68,500.46 by mid-September.
LCISD’s lawsuit requested that a federal judge put a stop to the $68,500.46 and Senior United States Judge for the Northern District of Texas Sam Cummings granted a temporary restraining order in favor of the school district.
The federal court will hold a hearing on September 27 concerning the temporary restraining order.
Lubbock-Cooper said in its lawsuit, “LCISD developed [a plan] that was individualized to [the students’] specific needs…”
LCISD also said, “[The student] showed positive academic and non-academic benefits and progress, including achieving high grades that were significantly better than those of the average general education student attending LCISD.”
LCISD’s lawsuit seeks to overturn the ruling by state regulators including the money. The Dennis family lawsuit seeks to enforce the state ruling, and force the school district to pay another “$110,444.37 and continuing” in legal fees.
When contacted for comment, LCISD issued a brief written statement:
The district has been successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order in this matter. We are not free at this time to comment fully on the matter outside of court, because this involves a student issue.
A call was placed to the attorney for the Dennis family. If the family chooses to comment, EverythingLubbock.com will provide an update.