Case: Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia

1:71-cv-01939 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Sept. 24, 1971

Closed Date: Jan. 1, 2001

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1971 several school aged children, by and through their parents, filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of the District of Columbia ("DC Board of Ed") in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants violated DC law and the United States Constitution by denying them access to publicly funded education. Class status was granted on …

In 1971 several school aged children, by and through their parents, filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of the District of Columbia ("DC Board of Ed") in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants violated DC law and the United States Constitution by denying them access to publicly funded education. Class status was granted on December 17, 1971, and was defined as "all children who are or will be residents of the District of Columbia and are of an age so as to be eligible for a publicly supported education and who are now, were during the 1970-71 school year, or will be excluded, suspended, expelled or otherwise denied a publicly supported education for any period in excess of two days."

Specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that they were labeled by the school board as "exceptional" students (meaning that they either had behavioral problems, were mentally handicapped, emotionally disturbed or hyperactive) and thus denied them admission to public schools with no alternative placement or periodic review of their status. Plaintiffs estimated that at the time of the complaint there were 22,000 such students in the DC Public School System, and 18,000 of those students were not being given access to a special education program as required by law.

The parties reached a settlement agreement on December 20, 1971 aimed at fixing the problems, however, due to the school board's inability to achieve its requirements, the Court (Judge Joseph Cornelius Waddy) entered Summary Judgment for the Plaintiffs on August 1, 1972. Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia, 348 F.Supp. 866, 871 (D.C. Cir. 1972). In his order, Judge Waddy declared that the School board must (1) provide 4 named class representative with publicly funded education, (2) identify all members of the Mills Class and provide them with publicly funded education, (3) increase funding for special education programs and teachers. Quoting Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954) Judge Waddy further noted that public education is "a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." The Court retained jurisdiction to "allow for implementation, modification and enforcement of the Judgment and Decree as may be required." Mills, 348 F.Supp. at 883.

The case was reopened in 2000 when a new Plaintiff, a ward of DC, claimed status as a member of the Mills Class and sought declaratory and injunctive relief in the same manner as the original Plaintiffs. On January 1, 2001, however, the Court (Judge John Garrett Penn) declared that the Mills Class was closed, and thus barred the Plaintiff's claim and closed the case. Specifically, he held that because Judge Waddy defined the Mills Class as "all children who are or will be residents of the District of Columbia and ARE of an age so as to be eligible for a publicly supported education . . . ," the Plaintiff was ineligible because in 1972, the Plaintiff was not alive, and by definition could not be of an age to be eligible for publicly supported education.

This effectively closed the Mills Class, thus closing Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia.

Summary Authors

Joshua Arocho (7/20/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Penn, John Garrett (District of Columbia)

Waddy, Joseph Cornelius (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia)

Eig, Michael J. (Maryland)

Houston, William E. (Virginia)

Seltzer, Tamara Lynn (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Earl, William Johnson Jr. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Penn, John Garrett (District of Columbia)

Waddy, Joseph Cornelius (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia)

Eig, Michael J. (Maryland)

Houston, William E. (Virginia)

Seltzer, Tamara Lynn (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Earl, William Johnson Jr. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Mills v. Board of Education

March 21, 2001 Docket

Memorandum Opinion, Judgment and Decree

348 F.Supp. 866

Aug. 1, 1972 Order/Opinion
6

Order

Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia

Sept. 12, 2000 Order/Opinion
19

Order

Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia

Nov. 21, 2000 Order/Opinion
27

Memorandum

Jan. 4, 2001 Order/Opinion
26

Order

Jan. 4, 2001 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Legal Reform of Special Education: Empirical Studies and Procedural Proposals

David Kirp, William Buss, and Peter Kuriloff

Jan. 1, 1974 http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2561&context=californialawreview

Perceptions of special education administrators in the development of career skills necessary in a K-12 setting

Nicholas C. Klemisch

Career skills of special education administrators have been loosely defined by each state in which they are employed. This study examined the perceptions of special education administrators regarding… Jan. 1, 2014

Multi-Tiered Support System (MTSS) Process to Inform Special Education Eligibility

Verna Elizabeth Neumann

Illinois Administrative Code currently requires that school districts use a process that determines how a student responds to scientific, research-based interventions when determining if a student is… Jan. 1, 2015

Expert Recommendations for the Future of Due Process in Special Education: A Delphi Study

Patricia Metheny

The purpose of this study was to identify recommendations that a Delphi panel of experts judged to be the most important for the future of due process in special education for avoiding due process he… Jan. 1, 2016

Teacher Perceptions of Parental Involvement for Students with Educational Disabilities in Elementary Schools

Elizabeth Kenner

Parental involvement has long been researched and discussed as a positive influence on the educational and social outcomes for students across grade levels. Within our school communities, students wh… Jan. 1, 2018

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link

ALL PRIOR DOCKET ENTRIES CAN BE FOUND ON MICROFILM. (tth) (Entered: 06/05/1997)

May 14, 1997
1

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS by Tamara Lynn Seltzer, Ira A. Burnim representing plaintiff PETER MILLS . New address: David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 1212, Washington, DC 20005 (202) 467−5730. (tth) (Entered: 06/05/1997)

May 14, 1997
2

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE for plaintiff PETER MILLS by Ira A. Burnim. (tth) (Entered: 06/05/1997)

May 14, 1997
3

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE for plaintiff PETER MILLS by Tamara L. Seltzer. (tth) (Entered: 06/05/1997)

May 14, 1997
4

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE for plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON by William E. Houston; "Let this be filed", PENN, J. (tth) (Entered: 09/13/2000)

Sept. 12, 2000
5

MOTION filed by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON for preliminary injunction ; Attachments (5) (tth) (Entered: 09/13/2000)

Sept. 12, 2000
6

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: granting motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON brief due 9/21/00 ; response to brief due 9/25/00; service of briefs and responses is to be effected by hand delivery. (N) (kmk) (Entered: 09/15/2000)

Sept. 12, 2000
7

STATEMENT filed by plaintiff PETER MILLS, plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON, regarding: firm name change from Bogin &Eig, P.C. to Michael J. Eig and Associates, P.C. (tth) (Entered: 09/21/2000)

Sept. 19, 2000
8

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE for plaintiff PETER MILLS, plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON by Michael Jeffrey Eig (tth) (Entered: 09/21/2000)

Sept. 19, 2000
9

RESPONSE by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON to order of September 12, 2000; [6−1], order [6−2] (tth) (Entered: 09/22/2000)

Sept. 21, 2000
10

RESPONSE by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON (Applicants Court Ordered Brief) [6−1], order [6−2] (tth) (Entered: 09/22/2000)

Sept. 21, 2000
11

SUPPLEMENT by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON to motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON (tth) (Entered: 09/22/2000)

Sept. 21, 2000
12

RESPONSE by defendant BOARD OF EDUCATION to order regarding the Application of Robby Gibson pursuant to order of Court of 9/12/00 [6−1], order [6−2] (tth) (Entered: 09/22/2000)

Sept. 21, 2000
13

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: the defendant shall respond to application due on or before 11/9/00 ; the plaintiff shall reply to motion due 11/16/00 ; , and oral argument on the preliminary issues raised by the Court in its order dated 9/121/2000, the parties shall also present oral argument on the merits of the application for preliminary injunction at that time. hearing set for 9:30 11/21/00 ; (N) (kmk) (Entered: 10/06/2000)

Oct. 5, 2000
15

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: granting motion,nunc pro tunc to extend time to 11/14/00 to respond to plaintiff's Application for Preliminary Injunction [14−1] by BOARD OF EDUCATION; response to motion(s) due by 11/14/00 ; (N) (kmk) (Entered: 11/15/2000)

Nov. 13, 2000
16

RESPONSE by defendant BOARD OF EDUCATION to motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON (tth) (Entered: 11/15/2000)

Nov. 14, 2000
17

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: granting motion, nunc pro tunc, to extend time to 11/14/00 to respond to plaintiff's Application for Preliminary Injunction [14−1] by BOARD OF EDUCATION; defendants' response to plaintiffs' motion(s) due by 11/14/00; (N) (kmk) (Entered: 11/17/2000)

Nov. 16, 2000
20

REPLY by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON to motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON (tth) (Entered: 11/24/2000)

Nov. 17, 2000
18

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE for defendant BOARD OF EDUCATION by William Johnson Earl Jr. (kmk) (Entered: 11/21/2000)

Nov. 21, 2000

MOTION HEARING before Judge John G. Penn: Heard and taken under advisement by ROBBY GIBSON motion for preliminary injunction [5−1]. Reporter: Kay Moomey (Miller Reporter) (kmk) (Entered: 11/21/2000)

Nov. 21, 2000
19

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: supplemental memorandum due 12/4/00 for ROBBY GIBSON, for BOARD OF EDUCATION ; , and responses to any supplemental memoranda are due on or before 12/11/00 , and defendant is ordered to include in its supplemental memorandum a detailed explanation of all actions taken by DCPS to admisnister the testing of the applicant required by the individuals with Disabilities Education Act to determine if he requires special education services. Defendant shall provide the Court with copies of any and all correspondence directed to the applicant's foster parents and educational advocate regarding arrangements for carrying out the required tests. (kmk) (Entered: 11/21/2000)

Nov. 21, 2000
21

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: the applicant tendered to the Court a copy of the "Five Day Disclosure" used in due process hearing before the District of Columbia Public School hearing officer is ordered that a copy of both the disclosure and the order from 6/18/1980, be filed by the Court with attached exhibits, copies of the psychological evaluation of the applicant performed by the Kennedy Krieger Children's Hospital, the psychotherapy report on the applicant completed by Washington Assessment &Therapy Services, and the applicant's birth certificate and Social Security card shall be filed under seal. The Clerk of Court shall make the appropriate entry on the docket sheet. (FILED UNDER SEAL−attachments) (kmk) Modified on 11/29/2000 (Entered: 11/29/2000)

Nov. 28, 2000
22

MEMORANDUM by plaintiffs PETER MILLS, and ROBBY GIBSON in support of appearance of non−class counsel, Robby Gibson (ag) (Entered: 12/04/2000)

Dec. 1, 2000
23

SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM by plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON to (ag) (Entered: 12/05/2000)

Dec. 4, 2000
24

SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM by defendant BOARD OF EDUCATION in opposition to motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON (ag) (Entered: 12/05/2000)

Dec. 4, 2000
25

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS by Michael Jeffrey Eig representing plaintiff PETER MILLS, plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON . New address: Michael J. Eig and Associates, P.C. 5454 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 760 Chevy Chase MD 20815− EFFECTIVE 12/18/00 . (ag) (Entered: 12/15/2000)

Dec. 14, 2000
26

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: denying motion for preliminary injunction [5−1] by ROBBY GIBSON; dismissing as a party to the above captioned case, plaintiff ROBBY GIBSON (N) (kmk) (Entered: 01/04/2001)

Jan. 4, 2001
28

ORDER by Judge John G. Penn: the MILLS class is now closed by Memorandum filed 1/4/2001 # 27, therefore seeing no reason for this msatter to remain open, this case is now closed. (N) (kmk) (Entered: 03/21/2001)

March 21, 2001

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 24, 1971

Closing Date: Jan. 1, 2001

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All children who are or will be residents of the District of Columbia and are of an age so as to be eligible for a publicly supported education and who are now, were during the 1970-71 school year, or will be excluded, suspended, expelled or otherwise denied a publicly supported education for any period in excess of two days.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Bazelon Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Board of Education of the District of Columbia, School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitoring

Recordkeeping

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Funding

Individualized planning

Record-keeping

Special education

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Disability:

Mental impairment

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Type of Facility:

Government-run