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Important Systemic Juvenile and Special Education Clinic Victory

Wednesday, November 22, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Congratulations to the UDC Law Juvenile and Special Education Clinic on an important victory!  

As reported here, on Tuesday, July 18, the Washington Post ran an article on its front page exposing several of the issues with undocumented suspension and other DC Public School “push-out” practices. Although not mentioned, this article was mainly the result of the advocacy (and the complaint filed) by the Clinic, working in conjunction with Advocates for Justice and Education, (AJE) which was founded by, and is currently led by, UDC Law Juvenile and Special Education Clinic alumni.

In late October, 2017, the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) agreed with the Clinic - and found that the DC Public Schools (DCPS) violated the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) by unlawfully excluding students with disabilities from school, inaccurately recording the absences, and denying students necessary, legally required supports and protections.

“Illicitly preventing students from entering school and denying these same students with necessary and legally required services, protections, and supports is absolutely devastating for these kids,” said Clinic Director Lauren Onkeles-Klein, “Rather than receive critical instruction, therapies, and interventions, these students are considered truant and left to languish at home or on the streets.”

“The practice of illegally preventing children from attending school and entering fraudulent information into the attendance system calls into question all of DCPS’s data regarding claims of reductions in suspensions and truancy,” said Onkeles-Klein. “We hope that this information helps serve as a catalyst for immediate systemic action.”

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