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DC News Now: Class action lawsuit filed against DC’s OSSE; claims students with disabilities denied equal access to education

March 7, 2024

Snapshot of DC News Now Coverage about OSEE Lawsuit with Interview of Ms. Daggett.

Anna Chen and Mariel Carbone of DC News Now report on new class action lawsuit filed on behalf of DC parents and guardians and The Arc against DC’s Office of the State Superintendent for Education:

D.C. parents and guardians of those with disabilities along with The Arc of the United States filed a class action lawsuit Thursday against D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE). The lawsuit claims that OSSE failed to provide D.C. students who have disabilities with “safe, reliable and effective transportation” to and from their schools. This also denied these students the same, fair treatment to education.

Senior Director of Legal Advocacy and General Counsel of The Arc, Shira Wakschlag, said in a statement it steals the opportunities of those students to “learn, grow, and connect with their peers.”

“Every morning, I wake up and I don’t know if the bus is going to come and I don’t know how that’s going to impact me and my family,” she said.

Parents of five different students signed onto the class action, including Elizabeth Daggett, who is a parent of a child with disabilities and a plaintiff on the lawsuit.

Daggett’s 13-year-old son relies on OSSE transportation to get to and from school.

“It’s a waiting game. Is the bus going to come at the time it’s supposed to or not?” she said.

When the bus doesn’t show up, Daggett said there’s a ripple effect that wreaks havoc on her entire family. She and her husband need to figure out how to get their two other children, plus their son, to school. The family has one car and both parents work, meaning someone will be late or missed out entirely.

The District is Failing to Provide Transportation for Students with Disabilities

Parents and guardians of children with disabilities living in the District of Columbia, along with The Arc of the United States, filed a class action lawsuit on March 7, 2024 against DC’s Office of the State Superintendent for Education for failing to provide safe, reliable and effective transportation to and from schools for children with disabilities, thereby denying students equal access to their education and unnecessarily segregating them from their peers.

Read About Our Lawsuit