Rich People Win Again

Written by Elie Mystal on . Posted in Posts.

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that Tom Freston was entitled to government reimbursement for his special needs child’s private school tuition.

Freston, former CEO of Viacom, received an $84.5 million severance package when Sumner Redstone showed him the door less than a year into his tenure as head of the company.  Mr. Freston’s obscene wealth generated from his spectacular corporate failure did not prevent the Court from awarding him approximately $22,000 NYC tax dollars.

The ostensibly noble law in play here states that New York City must pay the private school tuition of disabled children when the public school system cannot provide for the child’s needs.  No exception exists for people who have enough money to purchase their very own school, much less for the many wealthy Manhattanites that can easily afford any private school tuition.  Once again, the American legal system fails to take account of basic common sense, while judges remain purposefully blind to exigent circumstances.

The City did have one defense to Freston’s bald attempt to take money that he did not need.  The law requires parents to give the public school system a chance to provide necessary services before the City will pay for private education.  Freston most certainly did not give NYC public schools such an opportunity.  In fact Freston’s child was enrolled in private school before he was diagnosed with a disability.

I said diagnosed with a disability, which should alert you to the fact that we are not talking about a kid with no eyes or a really bad lisp.  Freston’s child was diagnosed with (wait for it) ADD.  I don’t mean to downplay epidemic of ADD that has swept through our country, or trivialize the debilitating consequences of having the attention span of a poodle.  I’m just saying that of all the disabilities in the world, the kid had ADD.

A man with $84.5 million successfully forced New York City to send his kid to private school for free because the kid “caught” ADD sometime after he went off to private school.  Please excuse me while I vomit.