The Department of Education has been involved in an ongoing case with the East Orange School District in New Jersey after the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) found the school was in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The OCR announced they reached an agreement with the school district on October 1, 2012.
The OCR initially started the investigation to see if the school district was inappropriately placing qualified students with a disability in separate classrooms instead of a regular class which is required by Section 504 and Title II. The investigation concluded that the school district was placing other qualified disabled students in “self-contained classrooms.” The OCR revealed that between 2010 and 2011, the district had a total of 1,462 disabled students and 64 percent were placed in “self-contained placements.” Furthermore, 535 of the students with learning disabilities were placed in “self-contained settings.”
The district worked alongside OCR during the investigation, and a resolution agreement was reached. The district agreed to create new procedures for placing qualified disabled students in regular classroom settings unless the district concludes in writing that the student cannot reach satisfactory results even with the help of aids or additional services.
The district will also train staff with new teaching practices, and the district will also launch a review of all disabled students who are currently in self-contained settings. If parents or guardians are still displeased with the placement, the district announces they will respect their right to a due process hearing.
Russlynn Ali, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, states, “Whenever possible, students with disabilities should be education in regular educational programs in our nation’s public schools. I applaud the steps the East Orange School District has agreed to take to address immediate concerns and to put systems in place to help ensure its compliance with Section 504 and Title II.”
Source: U.S. Department of Education