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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lawsuit: Problems in NYC Special Education

In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

From Disability Rights Advocates
M.G., et al. v. New York City Department of Education, et al.
Click here for case documents Date Filed: 07/27/2017 Status: Active 
On July 27, 2017, DRA filed a class action lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”), the City of New York, and DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña, in her official capacity, alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other anti-discrimination laws on behalf of a class of students with disabilities who attend school in the Bronx and are being denied legally-mandated special education services. 
If the New York City Department of Education cannot find providers for related services that a student with a disability needs like occupational therapy or speech therapy, it issues a “voucher” to parents instead called Related Service Authorizations or RSAs 
While typically these services would be provided during the school day, the families of children receiving these vouchers are left to fend for themselves, often facing insurmountable obstacles related to limited transportation options, inflexible work schedules, and language barriers. These vouchers go unused at very high rates. In the Bronx, over 63% of the vouchers are not used. The rates of usage are not much better across the City generally as almost half of the over 9,000 vouchers issued in the 2015-2016 school year went unused
DRA’s goal in this case is to ensure that the DOE develops and implements a remedial plan that includes new practices, policies, and procedures to ensure that all students in the Plaintiff Class receive their related services.