A Princeton-based school system that was investigated following a complaint that it applied seclusion and restraint to disabled students has entered the US Department of Justice.
Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an investigation into the North Gibson School Corporation was conducted after complaints were made that students with emotional and behavioral disorders were inappropriately sealed off and withheld in the district’s self-contained classrooms.
The investigation confirmed that students were inappropriately and repeatedly withdrawn and withheld at the age of 5, resulting in days and sometimes weeks of lost class time, the department said in a press release.
The school district was also accused of regularly sending students with disabilities home early from school, accommodating them on short school days, and assigning them to home-country classes.
“We’re better as a community when our schools serve all of our students,” said acting US attorney, John Childress, for the southern Indiana district. “Our schools should be places where all children have the best opportunity to learn and grow. This agreement is an important step towards achieving that goal.”
The school district cooperated fully throughout the investigation and voluntarily discontinued the use of secluded rooms before the investigation was completed and agreed to take the steps set out in the settlement agreement.
As part of this agreement, the school district will take proactive steps to ensure that its practices do not discriminate against students with disabilities, including by changing its policies to prohibit the use of seclusion. report all cases of reluctance and check whether they were justified; Take steps to avoid students with emotional and behavioral disorders from being accommodated on a shortened school day or class in their home country, and document these steps.
In addition, the agreement requires the school district to establish and implement a disability discrimination complaint handling process, provide appropriate training and resources to help schools implement the agreement, and appoint an intervention coordinator to ensure that that the district complies with the Agreement and Title II of the ADA.
“Students with disabilities, like all students, belong in classrooms where they can study – not locked away or otherwise separated from their peers. When school districts inappropriately foreclose or withholding students with disabilities, they cause serious harm to some of America’s most vulnerable children, “said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, Civil Rights Division’s.
Students with emotional and behavioral disorders need additional classroom support, not practices that keep them away or expose them to isolation and trauma. We look forward to working with North Gibson School Corporation, who are implementing this Settlement Agreement, to give disabled students equal access to education – a right guaranteed to them by the Disabled Americans Act. “
Bloomington attorney Jeremy Dilts of Carson LLP, NGSC’s legal advisor, said in a statement that he was currently not empowered to comment on the settlement agreement.
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