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Board approves settlement agreement for Perez vs. Sturgis Public Schools

At a closed session Monday, Sturgis Public Schools Board of Education approved a settlement agreement in the case of Perez vs. Sturgis Public Schools, filed in 2018. 

The case made its way to U.S. Supreme Court, then was re-directed to United States District Court’s Western District of Michigan. 

The agreement is a full settlement, release of all claims and contains a confidentiality agreement, superintendent Art Ebert confirmed.

According to U.S. Supreme Court, Miguel Luna Perez, who is deaf, was a student at Sturgis Public Schools from age 9 through 20. After advancing through all grade levels, the school district informed the Perez family that Miguel was not qualified to graduate.  

Perez and his family filed an administrative complaint with Michigan Department of Education, alleging the school failed to provide “appropriate public education” as required by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. They claimed the school provided a teacher’s aide who was not a qualified as sign-language interpreter, and the district had misrepresented the student’s education progress.

The case was decided March 21, 2023. The court found that students with special needs and their families who seek relief for education complaints are not required to exhaust administrative procedure under IDEA. The court said students and families may seek relief through other federal statutes, such as Americans with Disabilities Act, if a situation is not addressed by IDEA. The parties reached a settlement in which SPS promises to provide relief Perez sought, including additional schooling.

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