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Colorado ADA-violation case moves closer to trial

An intriguing Colorado case continues to make its way through the appellate court process, with a recent decision providing some aspects of victory to both parties in the case. The situation which resulted in litigation dates from a few years ago, and originally including claims of violation of everything from the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This particular case resulted from a Colorado school district's decision to use a type of desk for a certain student which included a restraining bar. The student was reportedly a bit of a problem for the school's faculty. The young girl battles a range of disabilities, mostly intellectual and developmental. The girl was born addicted to cocaine, and the school argues that the restraining desk was intended to keep the girl from disrupting class.

The chair itself is described as "U-shaped," with a locking bar containing what the school describes as a mechanism similar to the lock on a public restroom stall door.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver, recently ruled that the claims of violations based on constitutional grounds were invalid, but that the claims based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may go forward to trial. The decision comes after the lower District Court had made a similar ruling in the case.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in order to protect those suffering from a disability from discrimination. It appears that this case may now return to the lower trial court for a determination based on the parameters of the Act, unless there are further appeals.

Source: Education Week, "Court Upholds School's Use of Desk With Restraining Bar," Mark Walsh, Aug. 28, 2012

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