Thursday, December 29, 2005

MCPS fights parents of handicapped 9 year-old

MCPS continues to "fight on and on" against the parents of 9 year-old P.J. Lindner, a handicapped boy who is dying of a degenerative disorder, the Montgomery County Sentinel reports.

"This is the longest hearing I've ever done," family representative Michael Eig told the paper.

Eig alleges that the school system is dragging out the process on purpose. According to the Sentinel, "The Lindners must provide the burden of proof in this hearing, but Eig and Theresa Lindner said that goal was accomplished in the first day of the hearing.

"'The first witness, who was the MCPS director of the school system's proposed placement, testified that the school system's proposed IEP could not be implemented in her placement [at Forest Knolls Elementary School],' said Eig.

"'What occurred in the hearing [after that witness testified] should have ended the due process appeal right then and there,' said Theresa Lindner. 'But MCPS wanted to fight on.'

"And MCPS has continued to fight on and on," adds reporter Amy K. Rowland.

Eig says MCPS is going to unusual lengths to grind them down and drag out the process as the boy's health deteriorates.

"To do a six to seven-hour cross-examination of a parent - I've been doing this for 30 years and this has never happened," Eig told the Sentinel. "I think that explains itself."

"Of all the parents who appeal Montgomery County decisions, to decide to do the most aggressive cross-examination against a family who divides its time between going to the hearing, getting their sons to school and hospice is unexplainable and tragic," Eig said.

The Sentinel reports, "P.J.'s mother has become increasingly upset that her son's illness has caused him to be a political pawn. 'P.J. is not his disabilities, he is not his illness,'said Theresa Lindner. 'He is a little boy who loves and laughs and cries and blesses our lives.'"