Suits challenges VDOE, Fairfax's school over the Disability Act.education

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A class action lawsuit filed in Fairfax County on Wednesday challenges the state over enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, and hearing officers will stand with parents who challenge school plans on how to educate their children. He argues that it is unlikely.

Federal law details early invention, special education, and other related services that must be provided to eligible infants, toddlers, children, and young people with disabilities so that they can receive an adequate education. doing.

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If parents question the services provided to their child, they can file a complaint and go before a judge. A due process hearing is where families and school systems present their positions in a formal legal environment.

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“In the past 20 years, about two-thirds of hearing officers have never ruled in favor of a parent,” the lawsuit claims. From 2010 until July 2021 he is over 11 years. ”

Plaintiffs Trevor Chaprick and Vivian Chaprick are current parents of Fairfax County Public Schools students, founders of Hear Our Voices Inc., an advocacy organization for people with disabilities, and members of the Eastern District of Virginia. I filed a lawsuit in federal district court.

The complaint names Fairfax County Board of Education and School District Superintendent Michelle Reed, Virginia Department of Education, and State Public Education Superintendent Gillian Barrow.

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The Disabled Persons Act, originally the Education for All Disabled Children Act, passed in 1975, “provides free and appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the country and guarantees special education and related services for US Department of Education.

Chaprick’s son, identified as “DC” in the lawsuit, has “autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – predominantly the hyperactive-impulsive type, Tourette’s syndrome, encephalopathy, adjustment disorder with anxiety, and behavioral disorder.” He has faced significant challenges in his life, including disability: intellectual disability of undetermined severity, according to the complaint.”

DC’s parents, who attended public schools in Fairfax County, wanted DC to be placed in a residential school facility. However, according to the lawsuit, the school district rejected the idea that the student would have to leave the district.

Chaplicks proceeded with a due process hearing despite warnings from social workers in the school system that it “shouldn’t be bothered.” [with the case] Because they “lose”. ”

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This prompted Chaprick, through a Freedom of Information Act request, to launch a State Department of Education investigation. Her 19-year-old DC was placed in a residential educational facility rather than a district school. However, according to his parents, the facility fee is not paid by the school department.

In an interview Wednesday, Trevor Chaplick said the lawsuit has two purposes.

“One is to expose the scandal and its scope, and the other is to call for reform in both tradition and legislation,” he said.

The state education department recruits, certifies, and recertifies hearing officers each year, Chaprick said. The ministry also pays and trains officers, Chaprick said.

“It creates unfavorable incentives and a temptation for inquisitors to rule in favor of schools, which is exactly what the data shows. ‘ said Chaprick.

Chaplick wants the state to create an independent commission of fair-minded individuals with no financial interest in the outcome of the hearing.

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The complaint states that plaintiffs seek a declaration that the inquisitor system “deprives families of procedural due process.” [federal law] requirements. “

The lawsuit also seeks to demonstrate VDOE’s failure to comply with federal law. impartial hearing officer,” the complaint reads.

A spokeswoman for the state education department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The lawsuit also states that Fairfax County public schools should be held not in compliance with the law because they do not provide fair due process hearings before knowledgeable and impartial hearing officers. says.

A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County school did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Susman Godfrey Law Firm and Georgetown Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic have worked on this case pro bono, and Braxton Hill of Merritt Law has assisted in developing the case.

Susman Godfrey partner Bill Merrill said in an interview Wednesday:

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