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Class Action Suit Filed in NYC

A class action lawsuit filed by Advocates for Children two years ago was certified by Judge Charles P. Sifton of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

The lawsuit charges that children with special education needs have been and are currently being suspended, expelled, transferred, discharged, and removed from their schools without adequate notice and without being advised of their legal rights.

The lawsuit has nine plaintiffs. In many cases, students "have missed days, weeks and months of educational services." The suit alleges that children were sent to "alternative schools" where they did not receive special education services or received minimal instruction.

According to the Complaint, the Department of Education "instituted a policy, practice and custom" by which children with disabilities have been "excluded from school and denied educational services to which they are entitled by federal and state law.

The lead attorney Elisa Hyman, said, "The Department of Education has been turning a blind eye to the fact that thousands of children are being improperly excluded from school and denied educational services, in violation of federal law."

If the lawsuit is successful, the Department of Education may be forced to make widespread changes in its practices, instead of having to address the problems of the nine plaintiffs.

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