Students with Disabilities

The case of Mills and the District of Columbia School District Board is one that gave a lifeline to the education of students with special needs. Mills had been rejected in one public school on the claim that the Board did not have financial allocations to provide necessary facilities required by Mills and other disabled children. The court found out that the Board had erred in declining the admittance of Mills and others on this premise. The court compelled the Board to admit Mills and the seven others and find ways of fixing their budget by reallocating funds from other non-essential expenditures for the affluent public schoolchildren. The case recognized that the school going students with disability are entitled to education and that the same cannot be simply wished away due to flimsy reasons such as budget issues.

The case’s decision impacted special education services immensely. The court demonstrated that Boards must make provisions for special education since they were expected to provide education to special needs students either way. On the other hand, the public was given the confidence of getting their special needs children to education centers without fear of reprisal and rejection by the school system. The case demonstrated that the special need students are equally deserving and it is their right to demand and get quality education supported by public funds, just like other students. Through the case, it became clear that there are no students who are not eligible to join public schools owing to the nature of their physical or mental condition. Schools were thus required to accept special needs students despite the different challenges they might be facing. Education is a right and it cannot be denied on the pretext of challenges in resources.


Mills V. Board of Education of the District of Columbia 348 F. SUPP. 866 (D.D.C. 1972) General Rule of Law

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