Jennifer Carmack
Ashley Collins
Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia
United States District Court, District of Columbia
August 1, 1972
Background:
A civil action was brought against the Board of Education of the District of Columbia on the behalf of seven children by their friends who were denied publicly supported education by the District of Columbia Public Schools due to behavioral problems, mental retardation, emotionally disturbed or hyperactivity. The District of Columbia failed to provide special education for “exceptional” children. All of the minor plaintiffs are suing on behalf of other residents of school age who are eligible for a free public education and are excluded or deprived by the defendants of a public education.

Decision:
The court pointed out Section 31-201 of the District of Columbia Code requires every person living in the District of Columbia “…who has custody or control of a child between the ages of seven and sixteen years shall cause said child to be regularly instructed in a public school or in a private or parochial school or instructed privately…” The Board of Education must provide the facilities and opportunities for instruction. The court mandated that the District of Columbia comply with the ruling and send written updates of what actions have been implemented.

Implications:
This court case made it mandatory not only for the District of Colombia, but all other Boards of Education to accommodate all school age children from 7-16 a public education regardless of any mental issues. Up until this point DC Board of Education wasn’t allowing students to attend public schools nor were they paying for the students to attend private schools. Federal law mandates that all county’s provide adequate learning facilities for every child including “exceptional” children regardless of cost. This case has been used in many SPED and other disability cases that have been decided since.

Quiz Question
T/F- If disciplinary action is warranted by a Hearing Officer, written notice of the child’s right to appeal the decision to the Board of Education must be given within 2 days-

False…three days