Settlement reached in North Gibson Schools lawsuit after accusations of disability discrimination

Settlement reached in North Gibson Schools lawsuit after accusations of disability discrimination
Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 5:27 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 5:30 PM CST
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GIBSON CO., Ind. (WFIE) - The Justice Department announced a settlement agreement Thursday with the North Gibson School Corporation to address and prevent the discriminatory secluding and restraining students with disabilities.

[Read the full settlement agreement here]

This comes following an investigation into a complaint that the school district secluded and restrained students with emotional and behavioral disabilities in self-contained classrooms.

[Previous: Lawsuit against North Gibson Schools claims special needs student was abused]

According to the Justice Department, through their investigation, they found students as young as five-years-old were secluded and restrained.

They say this resulted in days, and sometimes weeks, of lost instructional time.

The department also investigated allegations that the school district regularly and inappropriately sent these students home early from school, placed them on abbreviated school days, and assigned them to homebound instruction.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the school district cooperated fully throughout the investigation and voluntarily suspended the use of seclusion rooms before the investigation was finished.

Under the settlement agreement, the school district will also take steps to make sure that its practice doesn’t discriminate against students with disabilities.

Those steps include the following:

  • Change its policies to prohibit use of seclusion rooms
  • Report all instances of restraint and review whether they were justified
  • Take steps to avoid placing students with emotional and behavioral disabilities on an abbreviated school day or homebound instruction and document those steps
  • Create and implement a procedure for handling complaints of disability discrimination
  • Provide appropriate training and resources to help schools implement the agreement
  • Appoint an Intervention Coordinator to ensure the district’s compliance with the agreement and Title II of the ADA

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