Welcome!

News Feed Item

Advocates And State Of New Jersey Settle Federal Lawsuit To Ensure Students With Disabilities Receive An Appropriate Education

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly seven years after the lawsuit was filed, and more than five years since the District Court denied the State's motion to dismiss, disability advocates entered into an historic settlement with the New Jersey Department of Education to ensure that New Jersey students with disabilities receive an appropriate education in the "least restrictive environment." 

"Countless children with disabilities who were inappropriately segregated and denied their right to an inclusive education will now be educated alongside their peers who do not have disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate," said attorney David L. Harris of Lowenstein Sandler, which handled the case on a pro bono basis.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), the Education Law Center (ELC), the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) and the ARC of New Jersey.  Representation was provided by attorneys from DRNJ, ELC and the law firms of Freeman, Carolla, Reisman & Gran, and Todd Wilson, LLC, along with Lowenstein Sandler.

The lawsuit cited New Jersey's failure to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires the provision of a "free and appropriate public education" in the "least restrictive environment" to all eligible students. The plaintiffs alleged that children were inappropriately and unnecessarily sent out of district and denied in-class aids, services and accommodations needed to receive an appropriate education in the general education classroom.

Joseph Young, Executive Director of DRNJ, commended the settlement, noting that "the benefits of inclusion are vast and include improved language development and reading skills, higher grades, higher scores on standardized tests, larger friendship networks, improved attendance and higher self-esteem." 

"Non-disabled children also benefit from inclusion: they perform substantially better in reading and mathematics than their counterparts educated in segregated environments, and they demonstrate social and developmental benefits, including improved understanding and relationships with children with disabilities," said Diana Autin, Executive Co-Director of SPAN.  The "win-win" of improved education for all students was also touted by Thomas Baffuto, Executive Director of the ARC, while Judith Gran, Esq., extolled the role of advocates in the Settlement, and Todd Wilson, Esq., pointed approvingly at the provision in the Settlement mandating training of Department of Education staff by a highly qualified independent party.

The Settlement includes:

  • a Needs Assessment to be completed by the 75+ school districts with the worst track record in inclusion;
  • district site visits by the Department of Education, including classroom observations and staff interviews;
  • extensive training and technical assistance for district staff, and regular assessment of the trainings and technical assistance;
  • training of state complaint investigators;
  • specially designated state and local inclusion facilitators;
  • annual compliance monitoring;
  • parental input regarding district failures to appropriately include students with disabilities; and
  • oversight by a stakeholder committee comprised of disability advocates.          

"The advocates are hopeful that this carefully crafted Settlement will result in a vast improvement in New Jersey's placement of children in the least restrictive environment – an area where New Jersey, for decades, has trailed the rest of the nation," said Ruth Lowenkron, Senior Attorney at the Education Law Center.  "Inclusion is not only the law, it's what's best for children and it's also more cost-effective in the long-run, and often even in the short-run," Lowenkron added.

The Settlement became effective upon the judge's February 19, 2014 signing of the Order, and implementation will be immediate.

SOURCE Lowenstein Sandler LLP

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Due of the rise of Hadoop, many enterprises are now deploying their first small clusters of 10 to 20 servers. At this small scale, the complexity of operating the cluster looks and feels like general data center servers. It is not until the clusters scale, as they inevitably do, when the pain caused by the exponential complexity becomes apparent. We've seen this problem occur time and time again. In his session at Big Data Expo, Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Addteq will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Addteq is one of the top 10 Platinum Atlassian Experts who specialize in DevOps, custom and continuous integration, automation, plugin development, and consulting for midsize and global firms. Addteq firmly believes that automation is essential for successful software releases. Addteq centers its products an...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.