Young people make mistakes; they break the law and take risks. And teens who also suffer from conditions like learning disorders can have an especially difficult time when it comes to making good, safe decisions. Sadly, it is not uncommon for young people in California jails to have various types of learning disabilities and special educational needs.
Unfortunately, many jails and juvenile detention centers in the United States only offer a general education curriculum. This can be extremely difficult for special education students who go to jail.
Recently, a California judge approved an important settlement. It requires Los Angeles county jails to provide special education services to detained students with learning disabilities.
The settlement comes out of a court battle that began in 2009. The Disability Rights Legal Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of an incarcerated student with learning disabilities. The lawsuit claimed the Los Angeles county jails violated the Disabilities Education Act because they failed to provide special education services to students with learning disabilities.
The settlement provides many important changes for these students:
- Students in county jails will have access to advocates to help them file an appeal when facilities wrongfully deny special education services.
- County jails must provide students under higher and maximum security with special education services.
- Los Angeles county jails must also provide separate spaces for special education services and properly trained staff to provide these services to students.
Further, based on an agreement in 2017, county jails must also ensure students who are moving between facilities resume any necessary special education services.
Students in a variety of settings require special education services. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, many young people do not receive the help they need and deserve. In these situations, it can be helpful to consult with an education law attorney. Doing so can ensure students understand their rights and receive an education that fits their needs.