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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Independent Study Litigation

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters.  And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all. 

Carolyn Jones at EdSource:

Sudents in special education who had been denied access to independent study won their first round in court Friday when a judge ordered those students’ school districts to reinstate their remote learning plans.

Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court in Northern California granted a temporary restraining order to a dozen students who were part of a lawsuit over California’s independent study program. The suit, filed by disability rights groups, claimed that the state discriminated against disabled students by not allowing them to participate in independent study this school year.

“I’m so happy. I’m looking forward to Liam being able to learn again and get the services he needs. That’s really all we’ve been asking for,” said Kirsten Neilsen, a parent in Long Beach whose son was among the plaintiffs in the complaint. “The judge’s ruling just shows what a strong case we have.”

When Assembly Bill 130 passed in July, California schools were required to offer in-person classes to all students except the few who qualified for independent study. Some students in special education — such as those with severe cognitive or developmental disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks, or students who were especially vulnerable to Covid — could not attend in-person school for health reasons, but were shut out of independent study because it wasn’t specified in their individualized education programs.