Durham Public Schools make special education changes
DURHAM (WTVD) — Durham Public Schools has been forced to change the way it disciplines students with disabilities after a complaint was filed alleging it violated special education laws that protect students.
The school system will debut a new program designed to help disabled students that have been suspended from school next month.
The complaint, filed with the Department of Public Instruction, came about after families with disabled students turned to Advocates for Children Services of Legal Aid for help. What they found was an alarming number of disabled students suspended for multiple days throughout the year with no instruction.
As part of a settlement, the school system has agreed to launch a short term intervention center where disabled students can serve out their suspension while keeping up with their class work.
“It’s an exciting way to kind of address some of the harms we see with suspension that being at home unsupervised without academic instruction can only hurt the students long term,” said Peggy Nicholson with N.C. Legal Aid.
The school system is still facing a major federal civil rights complaint alleging a disproportionate number of African American and disabled students are suspended from school. Federal officials are still investigating those claims.