Are Charter Schools Serving All Children?  Parents of Special Needs Students in Los Angeles County Say “No”

Since the idea of “separate but equal” educational settings was challenged in Brown v. Board of Education  in 1954, parents of students with disabilities have slowly gained access to more and more educational settings and programs. In 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and its reauthorization in 2004 as the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEIA)  gave parents and students more access by codifying that all students are entitled to a “free and appropriate public education.”


Unfortunately, children with disabilities are oftentimes pushed away from programs and educational settings that are unwilling or unable to meet their needs. Recently, the Learning Rights Law Center (“Learning Rights”) has seen a flood of complaints from parents stating that charter schools in Los Angeles County have been denying admission to students with special needs.


Although many people confuse charter schools with private schools, charter schools are actually public schools and they fall under the jurisdiction of the public school system.  As public schools, charter schools are therefore required to enroll any student who is eligible for a public education, including students with disabilities. Indeed, the California Education Code states, “a charter school . . . shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.” Read More.