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‘Why Would We Even Try?’ Parents Of Disabled Students Almost Never Win In Fights Against Maryland Districts

It’s rare for the parents of students with disabilities to prevail in legal battles against Maryland school districts. In the past five years, they’ve lost more than 85 percent of the time, state education department documents show, even after investing tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours in pursuit of a better education for their children.

Advocates, families and attorneys say the trend is alarming and discourages people from fighting for the rights kids are guaranteed under federal law.

School systems are required to provide and pay for a range of specialized services — anything from speech therapy sessions to tuition at a private facility — to ensure that children with disabilities are properly educated. When parents dispute what’s being offered, they can file a complaint and take their case before a judge.