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Lawsuit Accuses the Sacramento City Unified School District of Discriminating Against Students with Disabilities

— September 9, 2019

A few advocacy groups are suing the Sacramento City Unified School District over allegations it discriminates against disabled students.

The Sacramento City Unified School District was hit with a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups over allegations that the school district is discriminated against students with disabilities. According to the suit, the district “segregates students with disabilities and denies them the opportunity to be educated alongside their peers.”

SCUSD main office location
SCUSD main office location; image courtesy of User:Ronbo76 via Wikimedia Commons,

When commenting on the suit, Carly Munson, an attorney for Disability Rights California, said:

It’s our understanding and belief that the district segregates approximately half of its students with disabilities into either entirely separate schools. So, non-public schools or even public schools that only serve students with disabilities.”

Munson added that the district only has one public school campus where students with disabilities are placed. She said that non-public schools “are not run by the district but similarly serve only students with disabilities.” She added, “other students with disabilities who are being segregated are on integrated public campuses but stay within a classroom of their peers with disabilities and do not get to interact with other students.”

The suit itself was filed on behalf of the Black Parallel School Board and three disabled students in the district. Munson said last year one of the students was “excessively suspended last year…and faced 17 days of suspensions, and the district failed to properly address them under the law.” She added:

The school district’s required by law to hold what we call a manifestation determination meeting when suspensions reach the 10th cumulative day if there’s been a pattern of suspensions. And the district did not do this with that in this case…This district’s failure to see these kids, to serve these kids, to follow basic federal law is putting these students in grave danger and creating great stigma in front of their peers.”

The Black Parallel School Board chimed in and admitted the district discriminates, particularly against African-American students. Darryl White, chairperson of the Black Parallel School Board said,

SCUSD routinely violates the rights of students with disabilities, particularly black children with disabilities, by denying them the services and supports they are entitled to. Instead, the district tends to unfairly segregate and punish these children.”

On top of that, the suit accuses the school of violating federal law by failing to provide equal access to educational programming. Munson noted the school’s “preparedness rate of graduates with disabilities, which was only 4.1%,” and said:

That 4.1 college and career preparedness is a great example of how unequal the services are once students get segregated from their typical peers in regular education classrooms and the harm that comes from segregating them from providing them with unequal education.”

When responding to the allegations, Alex Barrios, a spokesperson for SCUSD, issued the following statement:

Let it be clear that we will not tolerate any form of discrimination in our schools and are taking these allegations very seriously. We will review the complaint once it is sent to us.”


Lawsuit alleges discrimination against disabled, black students at Sacramento City Unified

Sacramento City Unified School district faces a lawsuit alleging discrimination

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