Disability Rights Texas sues AISD over special ed evaluations

Mar 31, 2021 by

The complaint alleges that the district is failing students with disabilities because it has not fixed its evaluation system for special education.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of five Austin school district students, identified by their initials, alleges they have not received timely access to special education services.

The complaint, filed Monday by Disability Rights Texas, accuses the district of failing to serve students with disabilities because it has not addressed long-standing issues affecting its evaluation system for students seeking special education services. These issues include staff shortages and increasing backlogs of evaluations, according to the lawsuit.

State law requires school districts to provide a parent or guardian requesting a special education evaluation with a consent form or with a written notice form explaining why the district is refusing conduct the evaluation, within 15 days. Once consent is provided, the initial special education evaluations must be completed within 45 school days.

“In special education, evaluations are really important,” said Dustin Rynders, a supervising attorney with Disability Rights Texas. “Evaluations find that you’re either eligible for services or you’re not and what those services might be.”

The lawsuit alleges that the district has a history of understaffing school psychologists and falling behind on evaluations, both for students seeking new services and for students already receiving services and who are required to be reevaluated every three years. These services can include anything from speech and language therapy to physical therapy to dyslexia services, Rynders said.

Source: Disability Rights Texas sues AISD over special ed evaluations

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