In 1971, we brought the seminal lawsuit Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the first right-to-education suit in the country, to overturn that Pennsylvania law and secure a quality education for all children. The case quickly settled before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pa., resulting in a consent decree in which the state agreed to provide a free public education for children with mental retardation. That decree and many of the procedural protections in it became the basis for the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) enacted in 1975. The next year the Law Center filed PARC II to enforce the Act against the School District of Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Only a few decades ago, children with intellectual disabilities did not have the right to a public education. In fact, Pennsylvania state law allowed public schools to deny services to children “who have not attained a mental age of five years” by the start of first grade.