Mid-Florida Community Legal Services wins big for students with disabilities

ORLANDO, Florida, September 16, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Mid-Florida Community Legal Services Inc., (CLSMF) promotes equal access to justice by providing civil legal aid to help low-income people protect their livelihoods, health and families.

Katie kelly, Senior Manager of Public Interest & Children’s Law at CLSMF, filed the initial complaint against Volusia County School district May 2017 alleging that the district failed to accommodate students with disabilities and denied them access to equal educational opportunities.

The complaint alleged that the school district was excluding students with disabilities by: (1) requiring parents / guardians to pick up their disabled children from school or keep them at home; (2) discipline students for behavior resulting from their disability; and (3) engage with law enforcement to remove disabled students from school, even in kindergarten.

The Department of Justice press release states: “The Department’s investigation corroborated the allegations in the complaint, confirming that the VCS had excluded students with disabilities from its programs and services by unnecessarily removing them from the classroom. behavioral supports; and a lack of training on how to respond appropriately to student disability-related behaviors. These issues have led to the exclusion of students with disabilities from VCS programs and services and, at times, have resulted in calls for law enforcement to remove students with disabilities from school, including through the misuse of that of Florida Baker Law procedures which allow for the compulsory admission of a mentally ill person to a psychiatric facility for up to 72 hours if certain criteria are met. “

Finding evidence from numerous cases to corroborate the initial complaint, the DOJ’s decision was a success for countless current and future students.

Carl and Tyler Tews, the parents of an autistic child depicted in the complaint say: “The idea of ​​a legal fight was never the one we wanted to entertain, but it was perfectly clear that it was the only way to get to Jackson what he and so many other students needed.The DOJ’s decision is not the end of the trip for us or any of the other families, it just guarantees that the district will work for ALL students, including Jackson. .

The first of its kind in the country, this landmark decision could prompt many school districts to reassess their current methods of helping children with disabilities.

CONTACT: Jeff Harvey
BUSINESS Mid-Florida Community Legal Services Inc.
TELEPHONE 407-480-4512
E-MAIL [email protected]

SOURCE Mid-Florida Community Legal Services Inc.

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