Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. Cleveland City Board of Education

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

March 1, 2018


          LEE, JUDGE


          REEVES, JUDGE

         Plaintiff Elizabeth Harris, acting pro se, brings this action against Cleveland City Schools alleging violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the McKinney-Vento Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint or for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(c). For the following reasons, defendant's motion will be granted and this action dismissed.

         I. Background

         Harris's son, Michael, began attending Cleveland High School in August of 2014. At the time of his enrollment, Harris and Michael were staying at a domestic violence shelter located within the school district. Michael has been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism. He also suffers from asthma and migraine headaches. During the 2014-15 school year, Harris and Michael relocated seven times due to financial constraints. Because Harris moved outside the school district, she was permitted to charge fuel to the school district's account for transporting Michael to school. In early 2016, Harris and Michael relocated to a domestic abuse shelter in Dalton, Georgia, 32.6 miles from Cleveland High School. A problem arose with transportation costs between the school and Harris. Harris alleges the school also refused to enroll Michael for the 2016-17 school year.

         Harris filed suit against defendant in the fall of 2016, alleging violations of the McKinney-Vento Act. See S.S., M.H. and B.H. v. Cleveland City Schools Board of Education, Civil Action No. 1:16-CV-333. The case was settled and a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was entered on December 2, 2016. See Civil Action No. 1:16-CV-333, [R. 26].

         Additional facts are taken from the Order of Dismissal from the Tennessee Department of Education entered August 8, 2017 [R. 29-1]. At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the school determined that Michael was ineligible for special education services. He has never been identified as needing special education services, although he does have a “504 plan.” Harris disagreed with the school's findings and requested an independent educational evaluation. Dr. Asia Gifford performed the evaluation and determined that Michael met the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Severity Level Two. Dr. Gifford further opined that Michael “may” be eligible for special services through the school system, and Harris should meet with school personnel to discuss possible development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

         Michael became 18 years old on March 31, 2017. A meeting was held on April 25, 2017, to consider Dr. Gifford's report. Both Harris and Michael were present at the meeting along with school personnel. During the discussion, Michael indicated he did not need special education services; his mother disagreed. Michael was enrolled in the regular curriculum at Cleveland High School for the 2016-17 school year. The curriculum included Advanced Placement European History, Environmental Science, and English 4. Michael made an “A” in each of the classes in the spring semester. Michael's 504 plan, revised in March 2017, contained multiple accommodations, including extra time for completing assignments. Michael stated in the April 25, 2017 meeting that his teachers had done an “amazing job” following the 504 plan. Michael graduated from Cleveland High School on May 19, 2017, with a regular education diploma.

         On May 8, 2017, Harris filed a complaint against defendant alleging violations of “Title II ADA, Section 1983, Section 504, IDEA, McKinney Vento, 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” In support of her claims, Harris wrote the following:

Requesting and needing and [sic] immediate injunction under the Federal Civil Rights Act - McKinney Vento Homeless protection ordering/granting relief as comparable services and adequate transportation reimbursement costs costs related to disability IDEA travel (as mediated in settlement agreement 10-12) causing barrier to attendance/enrollment, subsequently has denied FAPE.
Requesting and needing immediate injunction putting a stop to the harassment and retaliation to our family regarding my son's autism disabilities and disability related absences.

[R. 1]. Harris lists her son, Michael Harris, as an additional plaintiff on her complaint form; however, Michael did not sign the complaint or the application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         II. Standard of Review

         Generally, complaints filed by pro se plaintiffs are liberally construed; however, in a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court must still consider the sufficiency of the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Powell v. Denton, 2010 WL 1491550 at *2 (E.D.Tenn. Apr. 12, 2010). Under the standard articulated by the United States Supreme Court, courts ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.