Suit Filed Over Special Education

See the original article in the San Francisco Chronicle

Chronicle Staff Report
Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Advocates for disabled children accused an East Palo Alto school district yesterday of failing to comply with a federal court order to revamp its special education program.

In legal papers filed with the District Court in San Francisco, the advocates demanded that the Ravenswood School District and the state Department of Education move forward with a plan to develop comprehensive training for teachers. The advocates also want disabled students placed in regular classrooms and changes made to the district’s assessment practices.

The state ordered the changes in 1998, two years after the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and Sagy Law Associates filed a lawsuit against the district.

A federal court judge approved the correction action plan in January 2000.

But as of Jan. 31, the district has completed only 32 percent of the plan, said Diane Lipton, attorney for Berkeley’s Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. Advocates are hoping that a federal judge will appoint someone to assist the district superintendent, Charlie Mae Knight, with the action plan.