Black Couple Sues School District For Sending Son To Special Ed Classes
Via KOMO News reports:
A local couple has filed a lawsuit against Federal Way Public Schools for what they call racial profiling and violation of First Amendment rights.
According to the lawsuit, “FWPS disproportionately refers African-American children to special education programs without adequately addressing whether their disability and/or medical needs prevent the children from attending general education classes or prevents them from completing general education schoolwork.”
The suit claims Lawrence and Katherine Williams’ 5-year-old son was treated improperly by being placed into a special education classroom at Lake Grove Elementary. Ernest Saadig Morris, a civil rights attorney hired by the family, says the couple wanted the child to remain in a general education classroom.
“They pushed their child into special education because they believe it’s because of race — he’s a black child with a disability,” said Morris.
Morris says the child’s disability does not affect his ability to learn in a general education classroom.
“Upon (the district) discovering the child had a disability he was placed and excluded into a special education setting and his mother had a problem with that and was very vocal about having that problem,” said Morris.
But when Katherine Williams continued to take her concerns about the class change to teachers, administrators and the district, the suit says FWPS sent the police to deliver a criminal trespass notice to Williams that banned her from district-owned properties for one year.
“They resisted her First Amendment rights because they were tired of her. They only do that to certain parents,” said Morris.
Federal Way Public Schools would not comment on the case, but did say when a letter of trespass is issued it’s not taken lightly.
The family pulled the child from Lake Grove Elementary and are now home schooling. Morris says they don’t want other families to face the same circumstances.
“We’re going to pursue this vigorously,” said Morris.
He say parents should not have to face a police officer when they’re advocating for their child’s education.