A federal judge refused Monday to order the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District to provide additional services for a paralyzed 6-year-old girl who is attending a regular kindergarten instead of special-education classes. Before such action can be considered, said U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler, state officials must formally investigate complaints by the parents of Stephanie Stratford that the district is not providing an adequately trained classroom aide and other accommodations for the girl. An attorney for the state Department of Education said an investigation will begin this week.
Stephanie has attended the Rancho Vista School in a motorized wheelchair since mid-September, when a state hearing officer decided that she could function successfully in a regular classroom. The school district is contesting that decision in a separate court action. Meanwhile, school attorney Sharon Watt told Stotler, the district has "not only implemented but gone beyond" the hearing officer's orders.