The mother of a severely deaf child filed suit in federal court in Alexandria this week against the Fairfax County school board and three local and state officials, demanding that the county provide specialized education for the girl near her home. The suit also seeks $50,000 from the county for not having provided the services before.
The suit was filed by Jeanette DeWalt, of 7499 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, on behalf of her daughter, Christine DeWalt, 8, who in addition to the hearing impairment has a mild form of cerebral palsy.
According to the suit, the county in 1977 placed the child in a school for the deaf in Hampton, Va., where she lived fulltime. In 1978, the mother refused to return her to the school, saying she was not being properly helped, the suit states.
Since then, the county has refused to place the child in a special school or special classes near her home, a violation of federal laws demanding "free appropriate public education" for handicapped children, according to the suit.
The individual defendants named in the suit are William J. Burkholder, acting superintendent for Fairfax schools; Beatrice Cameron, head of the county's special education section; Rodney F. Page, chairman of the county school board, and S. John Davis, head of the Virginia Department of Education. They could not be reached for comment.