Blair Hornstine
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Below is the official Court Decision involving Blair and the Moorestown Public Schools and their then-Superintendent Paul Kadri.  In order to clearly understand the decision the word plaintiff has been modified for easier reading for laypersons.  The words in brackets depict the changes.

Blair Hornstine: Intro

    

 

United States District Court,
D. New Jersey.

Blair L. HORNSTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF MOORESTOWN, Moorestown Board of Education and Superintendent of
Schools Paul J. Kadri, Defendants.

263 F.Supp.2d 887
No. CIV.A.03-CV-1953(FLW).

May 30, 2003.

Special needs high school senior with disability, who received highest weighted grade point average in her class and was entitled to be named sole valedictorian under existing policy, sued township board of education and school superintendent, seeking to enjoin board from retroactively applying proposed policy amendment allowing the designation of multiple valedictorians, which she alleged discriminated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, Fourteenth Amendment, and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Defendants moved to dismiss. The District Court, Wolfson, J., held that: (1) six month repose mandated under New Jersey Tort Claims Act Against Public Entities did not apply to preclude federal discrimination claims; (2) exhaustion of remedies was not required under state law or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and (3) student established likelihood of success on the merits of her claims, and was entitled to injunction precluding retroactive application of policy amendment. 
Ordered accordingly.

OPINION

WOLFSON, District Judge.


I. INTRODUCTION


Plaintiff, Blair Hornstine, a special needs high school senior, seeks the protection of this Court by way of a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") to enjoin defendant Moorestown Board of Education ("the Board") from retroactively applying to her a proposed policy amendment that would allow the designation of multiple valedictorians, which [Hornstine] contends would discriminate against her under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("Section 504"). Although defendants granted [Blair Hornstine] academic accommodations through her Individual Education Plan ("IEP") to redress her disability, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act ("IDEA"), they now contend that those same accommodations granted [Blair Hornstine]an unfair advantage over her non-disabled classmates; they allegedly aim to correct this "fundamental unfairness" by naming as valedictorian, together with, or instead of, [Hornstine], a non-disabled student whose weighted grade point average ("GPA") is less than hers.

Given that this case has generated a firestorm of controversy, it is important to emphasize at the outset what this case is not about. First, it is not about whether [Blair Hornstine] is disabled; that is undisputed by defendants. Second, it is not about the appropriateness of the accommodations [Hornstine] received through her IEP; she was afforded these accommodations by the Board to level the academic playing field for her, and in fact, [Blair’s] achievements are a model example of a successful IDEA program. This case is about an outstanding student who overcame the hardships of her disability to achieve the best grades in her class, and who is now in danger of having her accomplishments tarnished by her own school's administrators in the name of rectifying an imagined injustice. The record on this application for a TRO makes clear that the Board and Superintendent Paul Kadri ("Kadri"), in particular, apparently propelled by parental and community pressure, have sought to appease these uninformed interests by changing the rules. In so doing, they have embarked on a course to denigrate [Blair Hornstine’s] remarkable achievements as a special needs student, and thus, diminish the recognition due to [Hornstine], by criticizing the accommodations which these same defendants approved and never challenged. This unfortunate set of circumstances leads me to issue the following opinion.

Select Section->    1->Introduction    2->Facts and Procedural History    3->Defendants Motion to Dismiss    

4->[Blair] is Entitled to Temporarey Restraints    5->Conclustion     Top of Page

Blair Hornstine Article