Yakima, WA: ACLU defends SPED kids

June 20, 2017, Yakima (WA) Herald: ACLU alleges special ed students in Yakima, other districts suspended more than other students Christina Madison said her 13-year-old son has missed 52 days of school in the past two years because he was suspended or sent home for behavior problems associated with his disabilities. She said he was suspended for five days for refusing to change out of his gym clothes and suspended for 15 days for insubordination for being in a hallway without permission. “I don’t have these problems with my son at home,” said Madison, adding that many of the issues begin with miscommunication resulting from his autism. Her son is one of five plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington against the state, alleging that special-education students are being suspended or expelled at a higher rate than other students. … Neither district is named in the suit. Instead, the ACLU argues that the state office is liable for failing to ensure that school districts are not discriminating against special-education students or disciplining them for disability-related behavior. … ACLU attorneys using state disciplinary reports found that 7.9 percent of the state’s special-education students were either suspended or expelled from school in the 2014-15 school year. In the same time period, only 3.2 percent of non-
special education students were similarly removed from school, the lawsuit stated.