Students with Autism Gain Class Action Status in New York
· by Beth Fertig
The original plaintiffs, eight New York City students and their parents, sued in 2013 to prevent the loss of services including individualized instruction, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and support staff. The class-action status granted by Judge Shira Scheindlin on Monday applies to 8,000 city students with disabilities who attend state-funded private schools and at least another 13,000 city children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who attend public and private schools.
“These are essential services that these students need and that they’re entitled to under the law,” said David Rosenfeld, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. “There’s no reason they should have to hire a lawyer, there’s no dispute they need them.” Read the rest of the story at WNYC
Parents and those professionals care-taking for children with disabilities often feel marginalized by the system. Schools are often ill-equipped to adequately meet the needs of their students requiring an individualized education program, known as an I.E.P. The public school system, strained by an ever increasing do-more-with-less approach, finds itself in unchartered waters. How will class action status galvanize parents, alter school-based practices and drive the national conversation?