Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and school districts across the country are named as defendants in a class action Manhattan federal lawsuit slated to be filed Friday by the parents of special needs students.
In a press release posted on the website braininjuryrights.org, the plaintiffs allege that the school districts across the country "violated the federal civil rights" of the students when they sent them home for remote learning - or, as the release alleges, "no services at all" - when the pandemic hit in March.
The plantiffs include more than 200 families in 10 states. They say that remote learning models aren't enough for special education students and that their children need in-person programs.
The group is calling for the resumption of full-time in-person special education, and for students and parents to be compensated.
In response, a spokesperson for the city's Department of Education said in a statement that the agency is working to educate all students safely through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Health and safety is at the forefront of all our decision-making," the spokesperson said. "And when we closed school buildings, we quickly moved to remote learning, including special education services in order to provide students with disabilities with continuity of services during the pandemic. This summer, we are offering in-person related services for our students with disabilities. We are acting in the best interests of our students while following health guidance and will review the lawsuit.”