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Published: Wednesday, 6/12/2002

TPS sued over treatment of disabled

A physical therapist at Glendale-Feilbach Elementary School is suing the Toledo Board of Education, the superintendent, the teachers' union, and other individuals, accusing the district of failing to provide adequate education to disabled students.

Elva Court, a 22-year school employee, is seeking damages in excess of $500,000 and attorney fees, according to her complaint filed yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Board President Peter Silverman said he had not seen the suit and declined comment.

Mrs. Court, of Perrysburg, contends administrators retaliated against her for speaking out about the district's treatment of disabled students.

The district “has a policy that therapists may not tell parents the facts. If there aren't sufficient therapists or there's insufficient time for a given therapist to treat their child, to conduct the services for their child because they're overloaded, they have a policy by which they write up the therapists who do tell the parents,” said David Pheils, Mrs. Court's attorney.

Mrs. Court was placed in the intern evaluation program in September, a system normally used for first-year teachers. But she was evaluated by a speech therapist who was appointed by the supervisor with whom Mrs. Court had trouble, her attorney said.

“She came up with the same arbitrary, subjective, generalized, nonspecific complaints,” Mr. Pheils said.

No trial date has been set.

Others named in the suit include Donald Yates, coordinator of the Libbey-area school assistance center and Mrs. Court's supervisor; and Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers.

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