Under an agreement with the Justice Department, a national network of more than 180 private schools will pay $215,000 and make a number of policy changes in order to settle a lawsuit alleging that the schools excluded students with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. operates preschools, elementary and secondary schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia. In the lawsuit filed in April 2009, federal officials charged that the schools excluded children with disabilities from their programs in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Assistant Attorney General for civil rights Thomas E. Perez says:
It is illegal under the ADA to discriminate against children with disabilities. Just like public schools, private schools must make reasonable modifications of policies to permit children with disabilities to participate fully in the programs they offer. This agreement ensures that children will not be denied quality preschool and other educational opportunities based upon their disabilities.”