Y.S., a named plaintiff in the original case, was a 16-year-old student from Cambodia who did not speak English. He was misidentified as needing special education services after school officials tested him with an evaluation designed for native-English speakers. He was then labeled as mentally retarded and inappropriately isolated in a special education classroom where he fell further behind. The school provided no translation or interpretation services to his parents during this process. An estimated 14,000 students in Philadelphia schools share Y.S.’s struggles and are members of families whose primary language is not English. Even though it is mandated by federal and local law, the School District of Philadelphia systemically fails to provide the interpretation and translation services parents with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) need to meaningfully participate in their child’s education.
In 2015, together with the Education Law Center-PA and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of children with disabilities and their parents who do not speak English as their primary language. We are asking the Court to hold the District accountable to provide interpretation and translation services. The District filed a motion to dismiss the case. Notably, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in support of our claims. In a major victory for parents, in November 2016, the Court denied the School District’s motion to dismiss and the case is now proceeding to the discovery and class action certification proceedings.
Oral Argument Scheduled for September 28, 2016, at 2 p.m.
Department of Justice Files Support Brief
Court Makes Finding of Non-Compliance & Stipulations When the District failed to comply with annual reporting requirements in subsequent years, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Enforcement that granted continued judicial supervision.
Original Settlement & Remedial Plans