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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ending the Autism Shuffle

A federal judge signed off Tuesday on a settlement that formally ends the Philadelphia School District's policy of transferring elementary students with autism from school to school with no warning to their families.
The settlement came as a result of a class-action lawsuit filed three years ago by parents frustrated by the policy, known by families as "the autism shuffle." The parents, who all had second graders at Richmond Elementary in Port Richmond, were represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.
The terms of the settlement require the district to notify parents by January if their child could be transferred to a new school that fall. Officials would have to disclose the new school, if known, and inform parents of their right to meet formally with school officials about the transition.
Teachers will also be notified that their students could be transferred.
The district will also have to produce official transfer letters by June and publish lists of all of its autistic-support classrooms. Such lists were not made public in the past.