There are thousands of disabled students in Savannah public schools who are entitled to an education under federal law. The Sullivan Law Firm, through attorney, Julia H. Sullivan, and advocate, Erin O. Roma, filed a formal complaint with the Georgia Department of Education against the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) on behalf of all students with disabilities who are enrolled in the district and are eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.). Approximately 4,000 students in the district are eligible for special education and receive educational instruction, supports, and services under the IDEA. The complaint filed today makes clear that Savannah’s school system cannot use COVID-related educational disruptions to violate these students’ educational and civil rights.
Parents should know that:
They have a right to be a part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process (not question whether they are or not);
Their students have a right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) irrespective of the fact that we are living through a pandemic; and,
They can assert their rights against the district if FAPE is not being provided.
SCCPSS policies and practices mean that educational and civil rights of every one of the roughly 4,000 disabled students in the district have been violated. This denial of federally granted rights must be acknowledged, addressed, and remedied.
We look forward to learning that the Georgia Department of Education will investigate our concerns and expect that the Georgia Department of Education will ultimately find that SCCPSS is out of compliance with the IDEA for the reasons stated in the complaint. The goals of preserving, protecting, and promoting the educational and civil rights of disabled students and their families demands no other outcome.
The Sullivan Law Firm provides advice, counsel, and representation for clients needing help with estate planning, probate, and special education law matters. Attorney, Julia H. Sullivan, is a member of the Council of Parents Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA), the Academy of Special Needs Planners, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). She is licensed to practice law in Georgia and California. Education Advocate, Erin O. Roma, is a social worker who assists families in navigating the special education world. She is also a member of COPAA. Our office is located in downtown Savannah, Georgia.