Morristown, NJ

Lawsuit: NJ Parents Vs. NJ Department of Education

Morristown Minute

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Morristown Minute

NJ parents go to court to prevent remote learning for students with disabilities

Monday, January 3, 2022 – New Jersey parents have filed for a restraining order with a federal judge to prevent New Jersey schools from switching to remote learning.

The group of parents, organized by the Brain Injury Rights Group, asked a federal judge to issue a temporary order to reopen many NJ schools that have switched to remote learning as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases.

The lawsuit cites how the state’s 237k+ students with special needs are not receiving the services they need through remote learning.

Remote learning means that students with special needs will not receive the resources promised to them under their Individual Education Program (IEP), a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney.

Schools in New Jersey had originally claimed they would be closed for “Two Weeks To Stop The Spread,” in an aptly titled campaign to switch to remote learning for a temporary period. However, 18 months later more NJ schools are switching back to remote learning.

This week, dozens of NJ schools switched to remote learning:

  • Camden schools, which houses 1,175 students with disabilities
  • Jersey City schools, with 3,690 students with disabilities
  • Elizabeth, 3,561 students with disabilities
  • Bayonne, 1,588 students with disabilities
  • Carteret, 580 students with disabilities
  • Harrison, 387 students with disabilities
  • Irvington, 874 students with disabilities
  • New Brunswick, 1,702 students with disabilities

The above is only a partial list. The lawsuit by 13 NJ parents, our Plaintiffs, names 19 schools that have moved to remote learning as a result of the recent COVID-19 surge.

A similar motion, once more organized by the Brain Injury Rights Group, was filed in Michigan this week as schools across the country grapple with maintaining quality education standards as COVID continues to impact school openings.

Studies show that students with disabilities see a dramatic decrease in performance learning via a virtual environment.

However, several peer-reviewed studies have revealed effective methods for aiding students with disabilities in post-secondary “distance education.” These results are said to have positive implications for students with disabilities in primary schools as well.

Despite the availability of this information, NJ school districts have not adapted these proven resources to combat the learning roadblocks present in remote learning for students with disabilities.

New Jersey schools seem to have the information and resources available to them to make remote learning effective for students with disabilities, however, our state’s schools have not made any significant effort to utilize these resources.

As a result, NJ parents head to court to fight for the rights of their children.

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