The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Southern California have filed a class action in federal court charging that Los Angeles County doesn’t provide youths in the county’s largest probation facility with an adequate education.
The lawsuit, filed last week in a U.S. district court in Los Angeles, contends that the Challenger Memorial Youth Center, operated by the county’s probation department, violates both California law and the U.S. Constitution by depriving youths of an appropriate education.
The action claims that students are not systematically screened for reading problems and staff aren’t trained to provide literacy interventions that are based on research. Students who are functionally illiterate are routinely awarded credits, it charges. Among other complaints in the lawsuit are that teachers frequently show up late, don’t teach to academic content standards, and refuse to grade assignments by students. The lawsuit contends that students are often removed from class to perform tasks on the grounds of the facility, such as painting, housekeeping, or landscaping.
A version of this article appeared in the January 20, 2010 edition of Education Week as Class Action Accuses L.A. County of Failing to Provide Lessons at Jail