ACLU files lawsuit against Providence School District, RIDE over special education services

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union announced Monday it filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Providence School District and the Rhode Island Department of Education.

The lawsuit alleges that hundreds of children with disabilities between the ages of three and five are not receiving critical special education services. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the state and school district to begin directly providing those services or to contract with a third party to do so.

The ACLU stated that the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities from birth to age three.

“Today, children with disabilities in Providence stop getting desperately needed special education and related services on their third birthday and their parents are told to wait patiently, for months and even years when we all know that timely services are needed to maintain the progress made through early intervention,” ACLU of RI cooperating attorney Ellen Saideman said.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE), a non-profit organization that advocates for families in educational matters.

ABC 6 News has reached out to RIDE for comment and are waiting to hear back.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island