Lawsuit claims Boulder Valley failed to meet the needs of students with special needs

Coronavirus

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Boulder Valley School District claiming that thousands of students with special needs were not given the proper opportunity to learn during the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed by Igor Raykin, of the law firm of Kishinevsky & Raykin on behalf of two students, claims that the district, by not offering full-time in-person learning for its 3,700 students with special needs, failed to fulfil it’s obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“Special needs children have unique circumstances that make online learning highly ineffective for them – especially for those kids who are severely impacted. Many special needs kids have gone without services for months,” Raykin said in a release announcing the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, students with special needs represent 12% of the student population and if all of them were to return to in-person learning the district would still be able to meet social distancing requirements.

However, the lawsuit continues, parents of students with special needs would not be required to send their children to school. Implying that the number of students with special needs opting for full-time in-person learning would be lower than 3,700.

Boulder Valley School District sent The Problem Solvers the following statement:

The Boulder Valley School District has been working exceptionally hard to serve all of its 31,000 students, including those with special needs, during this crisis situation. We understand for many families the pandemic and its impact on schools has been extremely challenging. 

BVSD has outlined its plans, including for students with disabilities, in its Back Together BVSD reintroduction plan.

BVSD has been in the process of returning students to in-person learning, after several months of remote learning. During Phase 2+, which began at the end of September, students have returned in a staggered and differentiated approach, which has prioritized our most impacted students, including those in our intensive special education programs.

BVSD remains dedicated to providing students with special needs with a free appropriate public education as part of its mission to create challenging, meaningful and engaging learning opportunities so that all children thrive and are prepared for successful, civically engaged lives.

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