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The Washington Post: D.C. sued over ‘failure’ to bus kids with disabilities to and from school

March 7, 2024

DC school buses behind a fence.

Washington Post reporter Lauren Lumpkin covers new class action lawsuit filed against the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education:

A group of D.C. parents, along with a disability rights organization, alleges in a new lawsuit that the city has failed to transport students with special needs to and from school on time — causing disruptions that they say deprive children of critical time in classes or therapies, create daily uncertainties over schedules, and, in some cases, threaten students’ health.

Five families and The Arc of the United States nonprofit say the buses often arrive hours after children’s scheduled pickup times and return them home long after school has ended. Parents across the city have reported calling the police because they could not locate their children or using Apple AirTags to track their kids after school, said Kathy Zeisel, director of special legal projects at the Children’s Law Center.

Joann McCray, whose 12-year-old son has autism and who is one of the parents suing the city, said the frequent bus delays forced her to purchase a car. “I didn’t want a car note, but I want to get my son to school on time,” said McCray, who lives in Southeast Washington. She said the busing problems had led to frequent late arrivals at school, affecting her son’s attendance and grades.

McCray and other parents in the city say they have tried other channels — making phone calls, sending emails and complaining to lawmakers — to no avail. Now, they are taking the issue to court. The suit accuses the city, and its Office of the State Superintendent of Education, which manages the buses, of “systemic failures” that violate local policies and federal laws entitling their children to a fair education.

Photo Credit: Jared Soares for The Washington Post

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