Benjamin Lachman vs. Illinois State BD


Benjamin Lachman was a deaf child who was an East Maine, Illinois resident. His parents tried to enroll him in a local school that facilitated the education of disabled children. However, there were constant disagreements between his parents and the school authorities on the modalities of facilitating his education. Benjamin’s parents’ wish was that their son should be educated close to their residence by a speech instructor on fulltime a basis. Contrary, the teachers proposed that Benjamin should spend time with other impaired children. The differences between the parents and the tutors culminated in this suit. The school system proposed the utilization of total communication as a way of educating him. The suit filed was on behalf of other entities such as the East Maine school system and Benjamin (Vitello & Mithaug, 1998).

Legal Issue

In the suite, the litigant, Benjamin’s parents argued that the proposed program by the school system could not provide Benjamin with an appropriate education. The suit stated that the education provided by the school system failed to meet the relevant legal clauses (provisions) which pertain to the education of personalities with disabilities. The court was to determine whether the Illinois state system offered Benjamin an appropriate education. The appellate, Benjamin’s guardians sought to have their child educated close to their home by an appropriate instructor. Moreover, they sought to block any attempts to enroll Benjamin in a classroom with only one companion or setting conditions that demanded learning of the sign language.


The court undertook the required analysis. Subsequently, it dismissed Lachman’s applications. The litigant sought the consent of the American courts of appeal after the dismissal by the district court (Alexander, Alexander & Alexander, 2005). However, it also dismissed his applications.

Rule test

The court’s ruling leaned towards the precedent set in 1982 in the case 458 U.S. d 176. The case pitted Hendrick Hudson Central School against Rowley. Judges found many similarities between the two cases. Thus, they were justified in the application of the previous ruling. Additionally, the court also utilized the Education of Handicapped Children Act of the U.S.C. It evaluated if the provisions of the act were fulfilled by the program provided to Benjamin.


The ruling on the appeal was in agreement with that of the district court. The court’s failure to impose an ideal individual program further demonstrated its role as an interpreter of the law. In this ruling, the court indicates that it lacks the power to direct educational authorities on the particulars of the personal program. The court lacks such authority since the statutes fail to detail in particular how the personal program for the handicapped children should be set up. The court can only rule on whether the learning system enacted passes educational benefits to the impaired children.

Previous hearings

The district court had ruled against the appellate. The reasons for its ruling are similar to those issued by the appellate courts.


The Act on the education of such challenged students sought to facilitate the enlightenment of such pupils by providing specialized facilities. However, the statutes do not stipulate inaccurate terms of what the school system ought to enact to enable the education of impaired children. Hence, it is not statutory for the specialized school system to enhance the capability of the challenged children to a level equivalent to that of their normal counterparts.

The appellate court had to ascertain the compliance of the involved parties to the relevant statutes. As such, the court evaluated whether the proposed program that Benjamin ought to follow passed on educational benefits as per the statutes. If the court established that the agencies complied, then it has no more duties. The court should cease imposing any system that it deems preferable (Alexander & Alexander, 1985).

Scope of holding

The decision by the appellate court was binding to all lower courts. The appellate court serves the state of Illinois.

Unresolved issues

The court’s decision gives the school system more autonomy in determining the way to provide education to disabled children. It also limits the ability of the parents to interfere with the system set by the school.


Alexander, K., & Alexander, M. D. (1985). American public school law. St. Paul: West Pub. Co.

Alexander, K., Alexander, K., & Alexander, D. (2005). Instructor’s manual with test bank for American public school law, sixth edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Vitello, J., & Mithaug, E. (1998). Inclusive schooling: National and international perspectives. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates.

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