Danielle Gouch
Emily W Stone

Florence County District IV v. Shannon Carter
United States Supreme Court
Argued October 6, 1993 Decided November 9, 1993

Shannon Carter’s parents wanted the public school to provide a more intensive program that would guarantee Shannon's progress according to her abilities. The IEP that Florence County School implemented guaranteed that Shannon, who has dyslexia and ADHD, would only make a four month progress in reading and math levels over the entire school year. This particular IEP would raise her reading level from 5.4 to 5.8, and her math level would rise from 6.4 to 6.8 over through the entirety of the school year. Shannon’s parents disagreed with the IEP, stating that it would put her behind. They wanted her to be at high school level in both content areas by graduation. After the school board refused to change the IEP, her parents placed her in Trident Academy private school, which has a specialized educational program for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Mr. and Mrs. Carter sued the county public school for tuition reimbursement but lost on the basis of due process and review, so the case was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Decision and Rationale:
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous 9-0 decision for Shannon Carter. The court decided that if public school defaults and the child receives an appropriate education in a private placement, the parents are entitled to be reimbursed for the education that should have been provided by the school district.

Impact on Teaching:
Knowing what is expected of us is imperative. Often, in the public school system, the buck is passed to the teachers. A default in responsibilities, with regards to a proper education, is just as much the fault of the administration. In this case, the administrators had the responsibility to ensure that Shannon got proper education. As teachers, the proper documentation has to be made for IEP's. This is a perfect example as to why. Without proper paperwork and proof, the administration and other involved professionals could not properly identify the help that Shannon needed in order to make the necessary growth for the school year. Communication between teachers, parents, and administration is also vital to the process of an IEP. Teachers play such a huge role in creating an IEP because they are in the classroom with the student every day and know almost exactly what the child will need to succeed.

Applicable Quiz Question:
(T/F) The IEP process cannot be drafted without proper documentation from the teacher first.