Civil action. On motion for summary judgment.
Masucci, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).
This trial involves an application in lieu of prerogative writs to compel the Town of Nutley (hereafter referred to as Nutley) to provide adequate training, education and speech therapy to the infant plaintiff, a mentally retarded child, who is also afflicted with speech difficulty.
The application is made under the provisions of a statute providing for the training and education of subnormal and physically handicapped children. N.J.S.A. 18:14-71.1 provides for the classification of such children into three groups, two of which groupings are here pertinent and provide as follows:
1. Educable -- those who are or may be expected to succeed with a minimum of supervision at home, schools or community life.
2. Trainable -- those who are so severely retarded or socially immature that they cannot be classified as educable.
We are further concerned with the child's speech affliction.
The board of education is duty bound to provide suitable facilities and programs of education or training for all children under either classification, even though it requires the procurement of outside facilities or individual instructions or training. N.J.S.A. 18:14-71.5.
The issues involved are the child's classification and whether Nutley has provided proper facilities for her education, training and speech therapy.
Psychologists and experts in the field of training and education of the mentally retarded and physically handicapped children were produced by both sides. As usual, there was disagreement between them but, in the instant case, more in the matter of degree of mental retardation and on the issue of the quality and suffering of speech training, considering the child's mental development and speech affliction.
After a comparison and consideration of the various opinions and conclusions expressed by the experts on both sides, this court was of the impression that the child should be classified as trainable and that speech therapy should await advancement of the child to the educable classification, but was sufficiently in doubt to suggest (and both counsel agreed) the selection by the court of an approved psychologist to help the court in arriving at a conclusion which would best serve the interests of the child which, this court is satisfied, is the ultimate objective of both parties.
Dr. Marvin Metsky, a duly qualified and approved psychologist, was appointed by the court. He examined and made all required tests of the child and forwarded to the court his report and conclusions, a copy of which was sent to each of ...