Suit settled over treatment of students with disabilities

November 25, 2021 GMT

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s largest school district has reached a settlement with parents and advocacy groups over the treatment of students with disabilities.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the settlement effectively ends more than two years of litigation against the Fairfax County Public Schools.

The lawsuit was filed by the families of six students as well as the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates, Autistic Self Advocacy Network and CommunicationFirst. The lawsuit alleged that students with disabilities experienced trauma and physical harm through the excessive and improper use of seclusion and restraint.

Fairfax County Public Schools will ban all seclusion practices and curtail its use of physical restraint by the next academic year. Parents and advocacy groups said that will prevent trauma going forward.

“These are voices of individuals who are vulnerable and are usually not heard,” said Jennifer Tidd, one of the parents involved in the suit. “And I think that when they’re heard — when they’re accommodated appropriately — things like restraint and seclusion don’t have to happen.”