Sturgis BOE Approves Settlement In Perez Lawsuit
By: Mike Stiles - Tuesday, September 19, 2023

(photo courtesy of Sturgis Public Schools)

(STURGIS) – The Sturgis Board of Education has approved a settlement in a lawsuit filed by a former student.

Monday night, the Board voted unanimously to approve a settlement agreement with Miguel Luna Perez, as Superintendent Dr. Art Ebert shares with Swick Broadcasting. ...... {LISTEN}.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 27 year old Perez could seek compensatory damages from Sturgis Public Schools, who Perez claimed did not
provide him with an appropriate education.

Perez, who is deaf, in his complaint claims he was denied regular access to qualified interpreters from age 9. That was despite a recommendation that he be taught American Sign Language. The complaint says that Sturgis Schools assigned him an assistant that did not know sign language, and was not always available to him. Perez also says Sturgis Schools gave him better grades than he was actually getting, which caused his parents, who only speak Spanish, to believe he was passing his classes when he actually was not.

Perez says by the time he was a senior, he still could not read or write.

Perez says just a few months before he was set to graduate in 2018, he and his family were informed he would not graduate, but get a certificate of completion from Sturgis Schools.

A lawsuit was filed on his behalf under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. Sturgis Schools agreed to pay to send Perez to the Michigan School For The Deaf

Attorneys for Sturgis Public Schools argued to the Supreme Court that Perez and his parents had not exhausted all of the procedural steps that are required under the IDEA, before suing for damages under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Perez’s lawyers say that since the IDEA doesn’t include damages, his settling a claim under this law doesn’t stop him from filing for damages for the years of permanent harm and neglect he suffered.


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