The Republic School District in southwest Missouri is facing its second lawsuit in federal court in four years over a special education student. The Springfield News-Leader reports the Hansen family won a case against the school district after four years of litigation stating their son needed individualized attention since the fifth grade.
The federal lawsuit litigated in June 2009 that he had conduct and personality disorders that required the school district to adapt to his needs for an education. Eventually, he got four hours of individualized tutoring which helped improve his grades.
Since the lawsuit was settled in 2010, the family moved away. It was also reported the family had more than $27,000 in legal costs paid by the district. Republic itself spent over $60,000 in legal fees.
Another lawsuit was brought against the school district in federal court alleging another pupil's rights were violated. A girl and her family are suing Republic Schools over multiple rape allegations by a boy on middle school grounds. Plaintiffs say they have DNA evidence and juvenile court records to back up their claims. Republic schools have denied the accusations. The current litigation received national media attention from the likes of CBS News .
That makes two lawsuits in federal court in a two-year period for Republic Schools regarding special needs children. Even though the recent lawsuit is just beginning, there clearly is something wrong in the once proud school system. Added to these lawsuits was a controversy over the past year regarding the banning of two books from the high school's library. That issue also received national attention.
The $87,000 in legal fees could easily pay for two or three teachers to help kids learn. It could also go towards improved curricula or funding for special education programs. Instead, it went to fees to clean up a mess that administrators and leaders in the Republic School District created themselves. The next school board election in Republic will be very interesting to watch.
What's even worse is that both students' lives were changed forever. No one should have to endure the humiliation of these kids who were just trying to be normal kids. This is America where no one should be treated as a second-class citizen. How we treat the future of this country today will largely effect how the next generation of leaders will work with citizens to better their communities.
For some children who attended schools in Republic, their lives 10 years from now will be irrevocably altered by men and women who were trained to protect them. Instead, they were ignored.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.