Lawyers Sue Denver Public Schools Because They Believe Teacher Strike Could Harm Special Needs Students
Education lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Denver Public Schools after thousands of teachers walked out Monday. They claim that the strike will negatively impact students with special needs.
Denver public school teachers decided to go on strike after the teachers union and the school district couldn’t agree on how much they would be paid.
Colorado Public Radio’s Jenny Brundin said that there was chaos at one Denver high school after the strike began.
“One student posted a video of students leaving classes and flooding into the hallways where a spontaneous dance party broke out. Several students told me administrators tried to get students to go back to class, but when that failed, they said the kids could leave school, and several did. The district disputes that claim, though,” she said.
The district prepared 300 new substitute teachers to supplement its existing roster of 1,200. The lawsuit, however, says that it’s unlikely that they could find enough substitutes with the training and experience necessary to care for students who are disabled.
“The strike will cause severe emotional and psychological trauma for special education students, especially the large number of DPS students who suffer from autism,” the lawsuit explains. “With unexpected changes in routine, some autistic students may end up hurting themselves, hurting others and possibly suffering setbacks for months as a result of not receiving proper services.”
Lawyers are asking that the school district immediately inform the parets of all the disabled children how they will meet the needs of these children during the strike.
DPS spokesman Will Jones said that disabled students were well-supported in their schools on Monday. He added that school officials began recruiting substitutes with a special education background as soon as they knew a strike was underway.