DOJ sues Georgia for segregating students with disabilities

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit [complaint] against Georgia on Tuesday alleging that the state discriminates against students with behavior-related disabilities. The DOJ argues that the state’s Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support Program (GNETS) violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibition on the “unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities in state programs, services, and activities.” The complaint provides that students in the GNETS program are educated in a classroom used for detention that is located in the basement of the general education school and students in the program do not interact [The Hill report] with other students and never leave the basement. Furthermore, the DOJ maintains that Georgia discriminates against GNET students by denying [Huffington Post report] them “equal opportunity to access and benefit from the educational services available to students throughout the state” that are not placed in the GNETS program.

The ADA (official website) is a US civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The act defines [law] disability as the following: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment. The act prohibits covered entities from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis on a disability in the following areas: job application procedures, hiring, job advancement, discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and privileges of employment. The act also prohibits state or local governments, departments, agencies, or other public entities from denying the benefits of services, programs, or activities of a public entity.

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