Georgia System for Special-Needs Students Fails to Provide Equal Education
There are children with diagnoses including ADHD, bipolar disorder, and, increasingly, autism. They are often placed in separate classrooms within public schools and spend large numbers of hours on computers using technology that is not aligned with their specific needs. Georgia has had an entirely separate and separately funded program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders for five decades.
The Georgia program caught the attention of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which launched an investigation that lasted several years, resulting in a 21-page letter of findings in July 2015, and a lawsuit in August 2016.
According to that lawsuit, the GNETS system violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, both by segregating children with disabilities and by denying them access to an equal education.
The state of Georgia filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in October. Students like Caleb continue to languish in GNETS schools while the lawsuit continues its course. The most recent move came on December 9, when the Department of Justice filed a brief opposing the state’s motion to dismiss. Whether the Trump administration will approach the case differently is unclear.