SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Disability Rights Groups Sue Oregon in Federal Court

Tuesday's lawsuit comes on the first day of Oregon's legislative session and names Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Department of Education and its director Colt Gill named as defendants.

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 11:42 AM
Updated: Jan 22, 2019 2:00 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Disability Rights Oregon and four other groups filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday against the state of Oregon in U.S. District Court saying the state denies hundreds of children with disabilities the right to attend a full day of school.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Eugene comes on the first day of Oregon's legislative session and names Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Department of Education and its director Colt Gill as defendants.

It says that children with disabilities are frequently removed from the general classroom and given instruction separately or are sent home because of disruptive behaviors. In some cases, the students remain out of class for days or weeks, according to the complaint, and the problem is worse in small and rural districts.

Brown's office didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Marc Siegel, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, said he could not comment on pending litigation, but added in a statement that the department is "committed to equity and excellence for every learner."

The state has made a handful of efforts to reduce the use of shortened days in the last few years. But Disability Rights Oregon attorney Joel Greenberg told The Statesman Journal that the situation is getting worse, not better.

"What's happening is hurting a lot of children every day," he said. "They have a disability, and that disability makes it hard for them to understand and regulate their own behavior.

"I would like other parents to understand what it might be like just because your child is different in some way and they are told they don't belong in school ... that they won't get the same opportunities."

The lawsuit was filed by a list of concerned families, attorneys and advocates, including Disability Rights Oregon, the National Center for Youth Law, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

The lawsuit says children as young as five and six are routinely excluded from attending a full school day with their peers because of their disability-related behaviors.

Some of these children receive as little as one or two hours of instruction a day instead of the six hours their classmates typically receive. One child Greenberg has represented was denied a full day before he even began attending school, he said.

When children are in school, instruction often takes place in a separate classroom where they have little opportunity to interact and learn with their peers, despite research that says they are far more likely to enjoy academic and social success when allowed to do so, the complaint says.

"It's similar to what happens on a snow day or unannounced day off of school, only it goes on forever," he said.

Under federal law, the state must ensure that all students receive an appropriate education without discrimination based on disability.

State law allows students to be placed on an abbreviated schedule in some instances.

In those cases, parents must have had an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the placement, and school specialists that help craft the child's education plan must show they considered at least one other option. That team must also document the reasons why an abbreviated day is necessary.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32581

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7113137
Marion465894
Washington449760
Umatilla296241
Clackamas239861
Malheur161723
Lane118517
Jackson11395
Deschutes82512
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5298
Polk52915
Linn51913
Morrow4986
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3106
Wasco2893
Klamath2802
Hood River2510
Douglas2274
Clatsop2040
Josephine1982
Columbia1651
Coos1560
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa301
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 807451

Reported Deaths: 15583
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2669886504
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54386925
Orange530691214
San Diego46331775
Kern31865367
Fresno28199382
Sacramento22183406
Alameda21136406
Santa Clara21030311
San Joaquin20194441
Contra Costa16469205
Stanislaus16452351
Tulare15970263
Ventura12664150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11076101
San Mateo9843150
Monterey980771
Santa Barbara9037113
Merced8872142
Kings763177
Sonoma7369122
Marin6694117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer356745
San Luis Obispo354429
Butte281944
Yolo279555
Santa Cruz23309
Sutter170511
Napa166913
San Benito134011
Yuba11537
El Dorado11094
Mendocino90818
Shasta80617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5465
Lake53911
Nevada5337
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 62°
Brookings
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 78°
Crater Lake
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 61°
Grants Pass
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 60°
Klamath Falls
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 61°
Warmer and windy Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events