Federal agencies have intervened in a legal matter concerning special education students from Contra Costa County in California. It is claimed that these students were locked into solitary confinement for as much as 23 hours a day.
Conditions were claimed to be similar to those found in a maximum-security prison. The students were also said to have been denied their right to receiving an education.
Named in this lawsuit are the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Probation Department. Both agencies claim that the providing of special education services for these children was not their responsibility.
A federal statement of interest said that the two agencies could not "escape its legal obligations by contracting or delegating them to another entity, or by allowing another entity to interfere with carrying out of its responsibilities." The agencies are further accused of doing this by attempting to leave no one responsible for the education of these children.
Under California's education law, every child is entitled to receive an education. What's more, discipline of children with disabilities or in need of special accommodations cannot be disproportionately disciplined. Obviously, any child cannot be placed under conditions that could be compared to those in a maximum-security prison.
Agencies, educational departments and even schools will come up with novel arguments when attempting to deny responsibility for providing special education services. Attorneys who understand education law in California can poke holes in these arguments. These attorneys can also speak to parents concerning their particular problem and provide a variety of options and solutions.
Source: SF Gate, "Feds make rare appearance in lawsuit about special ed students in Contra Costa lockup," Jill Tucker, Feb. 18, 2014