United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
E. M., A MINOR; S.M., NEXT FRIEND; AND C.S., NEXT FRIEND
LEWISVILLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is Plaintiff's Motion to Submit
Additional Evidence to the Record (Dkt. #18). After
considering the relevant pleadings, the Court finds the
motion should be denied.
is a student with a disability who attended school within the
Lewisville Independent School District (“LISD”)
until December 2014. The LISD was responsible for providing
Plaintiff with a free appropriate public education under the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 20
U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq. (the
April 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a special education due
process hearing request with the Texas Education Agency
pursuant to the IDEA alleging that the LISD failed to provide
Plaintiff with a free appropriate public education during the
2013-2014 school year and 2014-2015 school year. The due
process hearing was held before a Special Education Hearing
Officer (“Hearing Officer”) in March 2015. On May
22, 2015, the Hearing Officer issued a decision finding that
the LISD provided Plaintiff a free appropriate public
education as required by the IDEA. On August 20, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Court appealing the
Hearing Officer's decision.
7, 2016, Plaintiff filed the pending Motion to Submit
Additional Evidence to the Record (Dkt. #18). Plaintiff seeks
to introduce twenty-two exhibits which Plaintiff asserts were
denied admission at the administrative due process hearing.
Plaintiff further seeks to introduce evidence not available
at the time of the administrative due process hearing,
including recent progress reports and evaluations provided by
private therapy providers. On June 17, 2016, the LISD filed a
response (Dkt. #20).
the role of the judiciary under the IDEA is limited, and the
choice of educational policies and methods is in the hands of
state and local school officials, “a federal district
court's review of a special education hearing
officer's decision in a due process hearing is virtually
de novo.” S.H. ex rel. A.H. v. Plano
Indep. Sch. Dist., 487 Fed. App'x. 850, 855-856 (5th
Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). While the district court must
give “due weight” to the hearing officer's
decision, it must reach an independent decision based on a
preponderance of the evidence before it. Klein Indep.
Sch. Dist. v. Hovem, 690 F.3d 390, 394 (5th Cir. 2012);
Houston Indep. Sch. Dist. v. V.P. ex rel. Juan P.,
582 F.3d 576, 583 (5th Cir. 2009); Houston Indep. Sch.
Dist. v. Bobby R., 200 F.3d 341, 347 (5th Cir. 2000)
(“Bobby R.”). The Court's task,
therefore, is not to second guess a school district's
decisions or impose its own plans for the education of
disabled students; rather, it is the narrow one of
determining whether a school district complied with the IDEA.
White ex. Rel. White v. Ascension Parish Sch. Bd.,
343 F.3d 373, 377 (5th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).
what evidence the Court is to consider, the statutory
framework of the IDEA provides:
action brought under this paragraph, the court-
(i) shall receive the records of the administrative
(ii) shall hear additional evidence at the request of a
(iii) basing its decision on the preponderance of the
evidence, shall grant such relief as the court ...