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June 5th, 2013

LSHV files court complaint against Mt. Vernon schools

WHITE PLAINS - Legal Services of the Hudson Valley ("LSHV") and Morrison Foerster, LLP filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Mt. Vernon City School District ("MVCSD") for its systemic failure to provide students with disabilities the supports, services and protections to which they are entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). The suit also names the New York State Education Department ("NYSED") for its failure to take appropriate action to correct Mt. Vernon’s non-compliance with IDEA mandates.

LSHV and Morrison Foerster’s complaint, brought on behalf of eight students with disabilities in the Mt. Vernon City School District and their parents, describes how students with disabililties are routinely denied the basic educational services and safeguards that they are entitled to by law.

Every year, large numbers of Mt. Vernon parents contact LSHV’s Lanza Children’s Law Center seeking assistance in securing appropriate special education services for their disabled child. Jill Faber, LSHV Senior Staff Attorney explains "every day we see first-hand the consequences of the district’s failure to comply with most basic substantive and procedural mandates of the IDEA."

"These children have disabilities ranging from Autism to Learning Disabilities and instead of providing them with the educational services they need, the MVCSD warehouses them in inappropriate settings. Additionally, many parents of disabled children are told to keep their child at home during the school day. This is illegal and forces already struggling families to scramble."

"The impact on students with disabilities is devastating and LSHV is committed to ending discrimination of disabled students by the MVCSD’s special education system and enhancing the long-term educational outcomes of all disabled students in the district," said Barbara Finkelstein, CEO of LSHV.

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