A class action lawsuit was filed on Tuesday claiming that Flint Community Schools have failed to comply with federal requirements on providing special education services to its students, along with the Michigan Department of Education and the Genesee Intermediate School District.
The plaintiffs in the case are parents of 15 children in the Flint schools, and the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court from the Eastern District of Michigan by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Education Law Center. The lawsuit asserts that children were deprived of early screening and intervention services, children lacked individualized education programs (IEP) in accordance with federal law, students with disabilities have not been provided special education and related services in accordance with their IEP in the least restrictive environment, and students were not afforded the safeguards of federal law.
The lawsuit asserts that while the Flint schools and Genesee ISD must administer special education, the state is responsible for ensuring schools comply with the federal IDEA law. It asks the court to issue a declaratory judgement that the conduct of the state, the ISD and Flint schools is illegal, and order that all children in Flint receive an enhanced educational screening to identify any needs, and to order the three agencies to ensure every public school in Flint has sufficient qualified personnel to evaluate and complete IEPs.
In addition, the suit asked the court to order the state and Genesee ISD to test the water levels in all public schools on a regular basis and to implement a preschool program for all children between 3 and 5 years of age. The case was assigned to Judge Arthur Tarnow.