LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas family has scored a major victory in court over the Clark County School District.
This lawsuit was filed by Sig and Lori Rogich on behalf of their daughter, who's referred to as O.R. in the lawsuit to keep her name confidential. The prominent Clark County couple claims the district denied their daughter, who is diagnosed with dyslexia, her right to an equal education — and they worry she's not the only one.
"It is not easy to raise a child who learns differently, and it's even harder when the school district fails to help you," said Lori Rogich.
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The case of Rogich vs. The Clark County School District dates back to 2016, when Sig and Lori Rogich filed a complaint with CCSD. They claim the district discriminated against their daughter by repeatedly refusing to implement a widely-accepted learning method into her individualized education program.
"This is an approach that is around the country. It's not a unique approach that only Mr. and Mrs. Rogich are asking for. It's around the country and, actually, the Clark County School District is one of the few districts that does not have it. They essentially said, 'you cannot dictate methodology. You should trust us,'" said Hillary Freeman, the attorney representing the Rogich family.
The Rogich's weren't willing to take a leap of faith with their daughter's education, so they placed her in private school and opted to sue the school district.
"By refusing to acknowledge and provide the methodology that the student requires in order to receive a free and appropriate public education, they're essentially discriminating against the student, and this is a discrimination claim," Freeman said.
The years-long legal battle came to an end last month, when a federal judge sided with the Rogich's — not only ruling against CCSD in court, but also writing a harsh rebuke that reads in part:
“The district failed to provide any response to the specific needs of O.R. except to essentially say to the parents — trust us to provide her with what she needs. This is not sufficient." The judge went on to write, "The district did not even have the requisite knowledge, in terms of (a multidisciplinary team), to properly identify or create a program.”
Despite being awarded nearly half-a-million dollars to cover the cost of private school, Lori Rogich insists this case wasn't about the money. She argues it was about defending their daughter and the rights of other children with learning disabilities to a receive an equal education in Clark County.
"We're very proud of our daughter for having the courage and willingness to stand up for her rights and knowing that, in the end, she may not benefit from it right now. However, it will impact many children who are struggling to learn and are not receiving the services by the Clark County School District," said Rogich. "It is to ensure that these children are receiving the proper services, but also hoping that the school district trains the individuals in the classroom to identify and assess and provide the services. So I think it goes also beyond the classroom."
13 Action News reached out to the Clark County School District for comment and to see if they plan to file a counter-suit, but had not heard back as of this report.