Federal Court Cites DC Failure to Provide Special Education to Students at the DC Jail

The US District Court for the District of Columbia entered an Order holding the District is in contempt of the Court’s preliminary injunction issued on June 16, 2021 because DC is continuing to fail to provide special education to the students with disabilities who are incarcerated at the DC Jail. The District must comply with the contempt order by March 15, 2022, and take steps to ensure that students have access to the education the District denied them.

The preliminary injunction was originally ordered to provide students “with the full hours of special education and related services mandated by their [Individualized Education Program (IEP)] through direct, teacher-or-counselor-led group classes and/or one-on-one sessions, delivered via live videoconference calls and/or in-person interactions” by July 1, 2021. Yet, they have never met this benchmark. In the new order the judge noted that, “every student currently enrolled in the Program remains at an inexcusable educational deficit for this school year—a failure all the more baffling given that the Court entered its Preliminary Injunction months before the school year began.” Judge Nichols further stated “[i]t is beyond doubt (indeed, it is essentially conceded) that Defendants have failed, and are continuing to fail, to comply with the Preliminary Injunction. They have had ample time to do so, yet remain out of compliance.”

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