Ga. Department of Education accused of discrimination

7:06 PM, Apr 5, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Georgia schools are being accused of depriving disabled students of a normal education in order to make a buck. Now the Department of Justice is investigating.

Some of Georgia's disabled students can succeed in a regular classroom, yet according to a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, they are being segregated because schools get more money.

"What we are hearing from advocates in Georgia and from parents, students with special needs are being moved from inclusive environments, placed into segregated environments and doing much worse in those segregated environments," said Jadine Johnson, a co-author of the complaint.

The complaint to the Department of Justice alleges the state has created a funding formula that gives more money to schools if the schools put the students in the most needy category even if students cope well in an integrated classroom.  The Center accuses the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which advocates rehabilitation which was included in the Act in 1973.

The Department of Education has refused to comment until it receives some kind of notification from the DOJ.  The DOJ won't comment on ongoing investigations.

"Georgia's Council for Environmental Disabilities actually commissioned a report in 2005 that documented this problem. It was presented to the legislature and despite several reviews of the funding formula, it has essentially remained the same so we're very concerned about it and we're very pleased that the Department of Justice has initiated an investigation," Johnson said.

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