New Orleans Special Education
Students with disabilities were denied access to New Orleans public schools and often pushed into schools unable to provide them with the educational services they deserved under federal law.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of advocacy groups first filed an administrative complaint against the Louisiana Department of Education to bring these schools into compliance with federal law and end practices that harm students with disabilities.
When that effort to work collaboratively with the state to craft a solution that would ensure all students have equal access to educational services stalled, the SPLC and advocacy groups filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Both the complaint and the lawsuit describe the failure of the state department of education to ensure students with disabilities receive services required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They document IDEA violations in more than 30 New Orleans schools – including charter schools and schools operated by the state’s Recovery School District.