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Case Name Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ED-PA-0002
Docket / Court No. 71-42 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On January 7, 1971, several children with mental disabilities, by and through their parents, filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State Board of Education and several named school ... read more >
On January 7, 1971, several children with mental disabilities, by and through their parents, filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State Board of Education and several named school districts. The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that certain state laws unconstitutionally denied a free publicly funded education to children with mental disabilities. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the named school districts unfairly classified certain students as "uneducable and untrainable," and also denied public education to students who did not reach the mental capacity of a 5-year-old by the time they turned 8 years old.

On October 8, 1971, the Court entered a consent decree agreed to by the parties, which declared several state laws unconstitutional, and required the state to evaluate and place all students with mental disabilities ages 6-21 in a proper publicly funded educational setting. Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 334 F.Supp. 1257 (E.D. Pa. 1971). The Court appointed a monitor and retained jurisdiction for enforcement of the consent decree. On May 5, 1972, the parties made minor adjustments to the consent decree without changing its basic framework. Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 343 F.Supp. 279 (E.D. Pa. 1972).

Pursuant to the consent decree, this case was closed on October 15, 1972.

Note: This Consent Decree was the foundation for the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which eventually led to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Joshua Arocho - 07/31/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Classification / placement
Individualized planning
Special education
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) 13 Named School Districts
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
State Board of Education
Plaintiff Description All mentally retarded persons, residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who have been, are being, or may be denied access to a free public program of education and training while they are, or were, less than twenty-one years of age.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1972
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Legal Reform of Special Education: Empirical Studies and Procedural Proposals
By: David Kirp, William Buss, and Peter Kuriloff (University of California Berkeley, University of Iowa and University of Pennsylvania)
Citation: 62 Cal. L. Rev. 40 (1974)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links A Place to Learn: The Development of a Free Appropriate Public Education for All Children -- PARC v. Commonwealth
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
By: Parallels in Time
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Digital Storytelling: PARC vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Iowa State University CI 201 Digital Storytelling Assignment (Youtube)
Posted: Nov. 08, 2012
By: Jourdan Moore
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order, Injunction and Consent Agreement 10/08/1971 (334 F.Supp. 1257) (E.D. Pa.)
ED-PA-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion, Order and Injunction 05/05/1972 (343 F.Supp. 279) (E.D. Pa.)
ED-PA-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Masterson, Thomas Ambrose (E.D. Pa.)
ED-PA-0002-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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