Special Education

No Summer Break From Problems with Special Ed.

By Nirvi Shah — June 21, 2011 1 min read
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In my inbox today, I encountered a collection of stories about parents battling school districts for a change in how their children, who have disabilities, are treated.

In Philadelphia, parents of children with autism are suing the school district in federal court because their children are forced to change schools at the end of 2nd and 5th grades.

Classes for students with autism are organized in groups of grades, such as kindergarten through 2nd, and 6th through 8th. However, schools with a support class for one group of students aren’t likely to have support classes for the other grades. The constant game of switcheroo affects about 3,000 students.

Parents of two of the four children suing the school district have already won due-process hearings in which the district was found to have violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by keeping their children out of their neighborhood schools and by allowing the children’s autism-support classrooms to become overcrowded, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In New York, thousands of students with disabilities who should know where they will attend kindergarten are still waiting on their placements, thanks to a new, $79 million system for tracking children with special needs. One father of a boy with autism wants an investigation.

The deadline to place students was June 15. Kids who weren’t assigned a school may be eligible for private school, at the city’s expense. According to the New York Daily News, the city already spends about $100 million to educate about 4,000 kids with disabilities who are in private schools.

And in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a mother has filed a civil rights complaint against the school district for requiring her son and others like him—he has anxiety, sensory and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders—to take standardized tests. (Test-based accountability is the force behind a protest that is scheduled in Washington D.C. later this summer.)

The school district eventually agreed not to force Robert Mattox Johnson take state exams, but his school, Belle Hall Elementary, will be penalized twice, the Post and Courier reports, once for his not being tested and again for his score, which will be counted as a zero.

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.