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  • NY judge tosses lawsuit for students with disabilities seeking services lost during the pandemic

    Apr 1, 2022

    03.30.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | The lawsuit, filed in November 2020 by the nonprofit Advocates for Children, claimed that tens of thousands of students with disabilities missed crucial services and instruction after the city’s school buildings shut down. In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, city officials struggled to provide functional remote learning devices for every student, leaving some without access to instruction. Some services such as physical therapy were extremely difficult to deliver virtually. 

    Advocates for Children was “disappointed by the decision and are considering all options,” the organization’s litigation director, Rebecca Shore, wrote in an email. She did not immediately say whether the organization planned to appeal. 

    Advocates said that without a streamlined process for offering makeup services, families will get tangled in the existing impartial hearing process or may simply forgo support to which they’re entitled.

    “These existing procedures are time-consuming and often favor families able to afford lawyers, leaving economically disadvantaged students behind,” wrote Isabella Rieke, a spokesperson for Advocates for Children. “This is especially true now, given how backlogged and overburdened the city’s special education impartial hearing system already is.” Read article