MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – A complaint has been filed against the Mount Vernon City School District and New York State Education Department that is claiming discrimination against students with disabilities.
The complaint alleges that the district has systematically failed to provide students suffering from disabilities the necessary support, services and protection that they are entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) and Morrison Foerster, LLP filed a complaint to the United States District Court for the Southern District on Wednesday. The suit also names the state education department for failing to take the steps to correct Mount Vernon’s alleged non-compliance with federal mandates.
Each year, the LSHV helps parents and students secure the appropriate services for disabilities from autism to learning disabilities.
“Instead of providing them with the educational services they need, the Mount Vernon School District warehouses them in inappropriate settings,” LSHV staff attorney Jill Faber said. “Many parents of disabled children are told to keep their child at home during the school day. This is illegal and forces already struggling families to scramble.”
Barbara Finkelstein, the CEO of LSHV, said that the complaint was brought on behalf of eight students with disabilities in the school district. It describes how students with disabilities are regularly denied basic educational services and safeguards.
“The impact on students with disabilities is devastating,” she said. “LSHV is committed to ending discrimination of disabled students by the Mount Vernon School District’s special education system and enhancing the long-term educational outcomes of all disabled students in the district.”
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