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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois

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EFE’s Recent Work

EFE helps kindergartner stay with class

Despite a clear legislative mandate to integrate students with disabilities in their neighborhood schools, we continue to fight for this law’s enforcement. Our victory over Eastland CUSD 308 allowed Angela, a 6-year-old girl with autism, to remain in her neighborhood kindergarten classroom. Angela’s school district planned to transfer her to a segregated Life Skills Program 30 miles from her home. Concerned that Angela would be forever segregated from her peers, Angela’s mother wanted her daughter to be able to learn alongside other children from her town, to make friends with children who could be communication role models, to play with classmates who did not share her socialization difficulties and, most important, to continue to be a part of her school community.  We represented Angela at a five-day due process hearing and obtained an order that allowed her to become a full member of the kindergarten class at her town’s elementary school. In addition, Angela received needed supports, services and instruction.

Musical student playing once more

EFE and Kirkland & Ellis represented a high school student with autism whose school failed to provide him with an aide, as required by his Individualized Education Plan. Without the aide, the student could not participate in his music class, one of his only general education classes. The school admitted that it failed to provide the aide because it didn’t have the money to pay for one.  The student sought make-up classes for the ones he missed. Pro bono attorneys represented the family at mediation, in an administrative state complaint, and at IEP meetings. Ultimately, the Illinois State Board of Education ordered the school to provide compensatory music instruction. The school agreed to provide eight weeks of one-on-one music classes at a provider of the parents’ choice.

Discriminatory bus schedule changed

Students with disabilities were brought to school in buses specifically for them. These buses left the school early every day, making the school day shorter for the students with disabilities than for nondisabled students.  This limited the students’ access to regular education because they could not attend any classes the last hour of the day.  We filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  As a result, the school changed its policy of shortening the school day for students with disabilities just because it was better for the busing schedule. The school also held IEP meetings to determine what compensatory education was due to each of the students whose education had been shortened.

 


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Last updated: April 23, 2014

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