Posted July 27, 2020
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “About one in seven (14 percent) children between the ages of three and 17 have developmental disabilities.” When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, those children were left with minimal support, a lack of supplemental guidance, and now, an uncertain future. When school districts closed their doors early this year and now as the new academic year looms, parents of special needs students or children with developmental disabilities are wondering, “What will happen to my child?”
That very question has sparked many parents to file lawsuits against their school districts and state education departments for inadequate preparations for their children’s learning needs.
Class Action Lawsuits: Education and Individualized Education Plans – Special Needs Students
Though children have seemingly been spared from the physical health ramifications of COVID-19 compared to older adults, the emotional toll it has taken on children is its own caliber of horrors.
This includes children whose educational needs are far greater than the average student. In an NPR article, one parent explains that her daughter who has a rare chromosomal abnormality and autism had once thrived in her special education courses. Now, with the shutdown months in, she has regressed in many ways, putting her behind for the upcoming school year.
And with the 2020-2021 academic year weeks away, parents like these are wondering how much more will their children suffer?
Parents claim online learning has been disproportionately used because some students cannot access the technology needed due to both developmental ability and socioeconomic status. In addition, special needs students who have occupational, physical, and speech therapists, often learn by touch, which is a global health crisis where social distancing must be in place. The substitute of which is video chat, and it just doesn’t work the same for those special needs students.
Unfortunately, this concern was raised by parents, with no changes made to the learning plans. Parents now are putting school districts to the task and asking if they tried hard enough to meet the needs of special needs students under federal law.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued guidance during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic urging flexibility under the law during school shutdowns. This included the shift to online learning, even for those students who received special education courses. In an effort to bring students up to speed, DeVos explained that students who did not receive the therapies and classes they need should be reevaluated in the fall and receive “compensatory services,” if needed.
But parents are saying that isn’t enough. In addition to the growing lawsuits against school districts and state education departments, parents are also joining the national class action lawsuit that includes plaintiffs in 20 states and growing each day.
If you have a child with developmental disabilities who typically would receive specialized education plans and has now fallen behind due to the lack of preparedness, do not let your child suffer any longer.
Special Education Lawsuits: Class Action, COVID-19
A child’s right to an education that fits their particular needs is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made our states and national systems forget about the most vulnerable students.
If you are seeking a lawsuit against a state education department or school district, contact our COVID-19 injury lawyers right away. In addition, if you would like to join a class action suit, our nationwide attorneys can help.
Your child has suffered enough. Let us help you.
Posted in COVID-19.