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June 11, 2001
Hooks v. Clark County School District
Home schooler denied special education services

Filed: January 9, 1998, District of Nevada.

Nature of Case: A home schooled child was denied special education services despite federal law requiring provision of such services to "all students." The family sued to obtain services. On October 23, 1998, a federal district court judge ruled that home school students in Nevada are not entitled to such services. On April 12, 2000, Mike Farris appeared before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to urge the reversal of the district court dismissal.

Ruling: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unfortunately construed the term "private school or facility" to exclude home school children in the event a state determines that a home school is a legally distinct category from a private school. In addition, the court ruled that excluding home-educated children from special needs services is not a violation of equal protection because there is a rational basis (economy and convenience) for the exclusion.

Status: On October 5, 2000 we filed a motion for rehearing en banc, which was denied. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, the defendant school district then applied to the Ninth Circuit for $4500 in appellate fees, which also was denied. We filed a petition for certiorari to the Unites States Supreme Court on January 31, 2001, and the school district has filed a brief in opposition. The Supreme Court denied certiorari.

Last Updated: June 11, 2001.

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