Parents of children with autism in the Philadelphia School District are celebrating a victory this week.
In a preliminary decision, United States Federal District Court Judge Legrome Davis ruled that the school district can no longer transfer autistic students to new elementary or middle schools without giving parents an opportunity to understand and discuss the decision.
Transfers are often necessary because not every school in the Philadelphia School District has classrooms and teachers designated to providing autistic support for every grade level. Some schools, for instance, may be able to serve kindergarten through third grade, but lack resources for grades four and five.
When this happens, the district's "automatic autism transfer policy" shuffles students to another public school that can serve the students' needs. The problem, though, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in 2011, is that the district has been acting with little to no input from parents, often at the last minute.