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When Mark and his family were homeless, he worried that he would not be able to continue to attend his school, where he had strong bonds with his teachers and his friends.

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Litigation

Impact Litigation

Advocates for Children of New York’s impact litigation is a powerful tool in our efforts to improve education law and to change the systemic practices and policies we have identified within the New York City Department of Education (DOE) that violate state or federal law.  Whether we are filing a class action, a  lawsuit on behalf of an individual, or a “friend of the court” amicus brief outlining AFC’s support for a certain legal outcome, the goal is the same: to ensure access to a quality education for all New York City students.  Indeed, AFC’s impact litigation has protected the right to learn not only for the thousands of clients we serve each year, but for all of the 1.1 million students in the New York City public schools.

AFC’s impact litigation has improved the quality of countless students’ education and school experiences by:

  • Compelling the DOE to meet its obligation to continue to provide financially eligible students with free or reduced-cost meals after those students were moved from public to non-public schools in order to meet their special needs.... View case details

  • Maintaining pressure on the DOE to comply with federal rulings which mandate appropriate evaluation, placement and services to be provided to all New York City students with disabilities.... View case details

  • Fighting the push-out of high school students at several New York City high schools.... View case details

  • Identifying and addressing the DOE’s persistent failure to implement impartial hearing orders for students with disabilities.... View case details

  • Ensuring that children with disabilities who have been suspended or are receiving other school-related discipline are provided with the education to which they are entitled during their absence from school.... View case details

  • Fighting for the implementation of procedures to ensure the timely placement of students returning to New York City schools from juvenile justice settings.... View case details

  • Strengthening the rights of parents of students with disabilities to participate in the school co-location process.... View case details

 

Important Information for Parents

Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)

When students with disabilities have behavior issues that interfere with learning, schools need to analyze the problem behavior, in terms of what triggers it and how it can be avoided, and to consider using that analysis to develop a behavioral program through Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs).  As part of the FBA, a school must observe a student’s behavior in different educational settings at different times of day with different people in order to understand what causes the challenging behavior and determine what supports could assist the student to avoid that behavior. Looking at the triggers and causes for the student’s challenging behavior identified in the FBA, a BIP should create a plan so that all members of the school staff consistently address the student’s behavior proactively during the school day to try to prevent the concerning behavior from occurring at all and create a plan for the school to implement if the student exhibits the concerning behavior so that behavior does not escalate.  

If your child has behavioral challenges and is not receiving the appropriate support in school, or if your child has an IEP and has been suspended for more than 10 days, ask your school to conduct a comprehensive FBA and create a BIP.  View case details and download our information sheet on FBAs and BIPs [PDF].

Implementation of Impartial Hearing Orders

Under the LV settlement, the DOE is required to send non-implementation notices to each parent whose impartial hearing order has not been properly implemented.  This notice is effective proof of non-compliance in a proceeding to enforce the order. If you received a voucher issued from the LV settlement, it must be activated and begun to be used within one year of its issuance, with one additional year to finish using it. Most of the vouchers issued under LV expired January 28, 2011; however, please check the start date of your voucher to confirm expiration.  

If you have questions about non-implementation notices, enforcement of an impartial hearing order, or LV vouchers, please contact Rebecca Shore, Director of Litigation, at 212-947-9779 ext. 577.

FERPA Notices for Students with Disabilities Suspended from School

Parents of students with disabilities who are suspended from school for more than 10 days should receive a FERPA notice informing them that the DOE may release certain information about their child to AFC in connection with our ongoing prosecution of EB v. Department of Education. Only the information about his or her IEP and the services he or she is receiving at the Alternative Learning Center during the suspension will be disclosed to AFC and will be kept confidential.  This notice does not in any way affect the suspension hearing.  If you do not want to share this information, simply return the FERPA notice to DOE.  You do not need to do anything if you consent to the disclosure.  

School Co-Locations

The DOE cannot co-locate another school or program at your child’s school without satisfying certain legal requirements.  This fact sheet [PDF] answers commonly asked questions about the requirements for school co-location.