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Read Karla's Story

Karla was only two credits away from receiving her diploma when she was pushed out of high school.

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Litigation

The Trilogy of Push-Out Cases

The Trilogy of Push-Out Cases
Ruiz v. Pedota, RV v. Department of Education, and SG v. Department of Education

In January 2003, AFC filed a lawsuit against Franklin K. Lane (FKL) High School for its illegal practices in discharging students. Within a few weeks, the City Department of Education agreed to undertake a mailing to approximately 5,000 students who had been discharged or transferred from FKL. In this mailing, the Department explained that these students each had a right to return to school and to stay in school until the year in which they turned 21. As a consequence of this mailing, hundreds of students were offered the opportunity to re-enroll at FKL High School.

In the summer of 2004, Department of Education officials admitted that there was a long-standing citywide problem with schools pushing students out. The issue itself, as well as city officials' admission, was covered extensively in the local press, most notably on the front page of The New York Times.

In the fall of 2003, AFC filed similar lawsuits against two additional individual high schools. All three of these cases were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York before Judge Jack B. Weinstein.

All three of the individual school cases settled. Among other things, under the settlement agreements, discharged students were permitted to re-enroll at their high schools and procedures were put in place to provide future students notice of their rights prior to a discharge or transfer. Support services were also put in place for the students at the schools at issue. Also as a result of these lawsuits, the Department of Education put new citywide procedures in place designed to ensure that students would not be illegally pushed out of school and would have notice of their right to stay in school until the age of 21.

Associated Documents:

FKL Second Amended Complaint [PDF], March 28, 2003

MLK Complaint [PDF], October 10, 2003

RV Complaint [PDF], November 7, 2003

FKL Notice of Settlement [PDF], February 2, 2004

DOE General Counsel Mike Best letter to AFC Executive Director Jill Chaifetz [PDF], June 16, 2004

Judge Weinstein's Opinion Approving Settlements All Three Lawsuits [PDF], June 17, 2004