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Lawsuit rips schools for abandoning special needs kids amid COVID-19 pandemic

No child Left BehindNote: My daughter's amazing private placement closed its doors with 9 days' notice in June, claiming COVID was just too much for them after 28 years of providing a unique and effective program based on communication and learning, not just behavior. They sent students back to their home districts without a thought or a care. No transition (promised), no support, no conscience. Extended School Year is 20 hours per week here in CT. My daughter is getting 3 hours of direct Zoom service with staff from the closed school.  My district has been trying to accommodate her, and I know there are no easy answers. We're collegial and I am hoping for a custom program for my daughter come Fall. My daughter is 19 and at the end of her schooling at age 22. I'm choosing my battles. What about the students in elementary school? Younger? Certainly four years of high school are critical - as students approach adulthood. And COVID distance learning is NOT working for us. What are your thoughts?


From The New York Post: Lawsuit rips schools for abandoning special needs kids amid COVID-19 pandemic

School districts across the country have abandoned special education kids amid the coronavirus crisis, according to a class action Manhattan federal lawsuit slated to be filed Friday.

The case argues that districts ignored federal law by failing to provide legally mandated services to kids who suffer from mental and physical deficits after the closure of schools in March.

“These school districts violated the rights of 6.7 million students across the country by altering their educational programs,” said parent and activist Patrick Donohue. “They put the burden on parents to do the job of these school districts.”

The case names Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and districts across the country as defendants.

Backers of the suit will release radio ads in New York to draw attention to the ongoing plight of special education parents.

Two hundred families in 10 states have signed on as plaintiffs so far, arguing that remote learning models have been inadequate for special education kids who often require one on one assistance.

“These programs are federally protected,” Donohue said.

The case is demanding the resumption of full-time in person special education for impacted kids, fresh evaluations for badly regressed children, compensation for parental expenses incurred during remote learning and funding for additional staff.  Read more at Lawsuit rips schools for abandoning special needs kids amid COVID-19 pandemic.


Laura Hayes

Grace Green,

I value and appreciate your comments here on AoA. Please keep 'em coming!

Grace Green

Hera, and all,
Obviously I can't speak for Will, but I can see how you could take his comment the way you did, and hurting the feelings of anyone who is going through any of this stuff is the last thing I would want. Your comments make me realize that when I read different views on things I tend to agree with the one I'm reading, and forget the previous ones. I believe "autism" is primarily a problem of memory. I can read a whole list of comments and agree with them all! It does have its problems, as I'm sure you can imagine.
I do think Kim, and all of you, are doing an amazing job. I know how hard it must be. Some time ago I described the horrendous years my young sons and I experienced as a single parent family, with an autistic parent(!) and no income, and no support of any kind, as well as hostility from doctors, civil servants and others. Never mind programmes, or day care, or respite. And I received a troll sandbagging on here! I now know the reason for all our troubles - being vaccine injured and the daughter of a pharmacologist who worked on vaccines, so could easily have been a whistleblower, could have disrupted their plans. They had to keep me quiet before the time was right for them. If any of you have been watching alternative media you should know that our governments, and doctors, are now murdering people (not my words but those of several nurses who have witnessed it.) I do feel that most people on here haven't realized we've moved on to the next phase, from worrying about our children's education. I have just heard that in the uk parents of autistic and other disabled children were asked by their GPs to sign Do Not Resuscitate forms. (Perhaps this is why the "neurodiverse" are saying they're just a bit different, not actually brain damaged - perhaps they saw it coming, when, like me, they experienced daily hatred and violence). I do feel for the suffering of families of disabled children (and adults), that's why I'm still here. But you could learn something from my experiences if you weren't determined not to believe me.


Hi All,
Grace, I very much respect your views. You bring a different perspective. Like Laura, and Susan Welch, I had read Will's comment as meaning that Kim's problems weren't important, because of the way disabled people in group homes are treated.

I was torn between respect for Will, as a person who has obviously undergone hardships that may have left him angry, sometimes perhaps at the wrong targets, agreement with Kim that just stopping providing services to those who need them is wrong, and deep sympathy for Kim trying to care for three disabled daughters as a single mother, with no help ( how does she even go shopping for groceries, given that she has mentioned one daughter has recently had a problem with spitting?Who cares for her daughters while she takes care of the most basic of physical necessities? Just because Kim is strong and can cope with things that others could not, does not mean it is in any way fair, or that she should somehow not get help, as everyone needs help at times, and thinking of Kim as a single mother alone,having to provide long term care with no respite to three disabled adults all day every day makes me worry for her). At the same time, Will is correct that the treatment of people in group homes cans be bad, and the discrimination against anyone with a disability when they get to a hospital can be abysmal.

I think advocating to stop the discrimination against the disabled in hospitals is essential.

I also think that Will is articulate and capable, and maybe should be advocating with the government for what he believes himself, just as he writes here.He does not need Kim to write letters to the government for him; it is obvious he has the skill and ability to do this himself, and I think he should. He probably could also write articles about the situation.
(Will, you might also want to get someone to give you feedback on how what you write comes across, if as Grace suggests, your intention is not to put people like Kim down. )

Schooling for many of us is essential for our children. School provides respite care, a chance for a parent to work to earn money for the family, and for some of our kids, socialization with other teenagers only happens at school. There can be a lot of loneliness having no one your age, and most of our kids are not getting calls from other kids when school is out, even if the kids are friendly when our kids are at school.Also, some of our kids teeter on the edge of being independent, they need every bit of help they can get from multiple sources to get the skills needed to hold down a job. The difference between life in a group home and independence can come down to this.

Grace Green

To Susan and Laura,
I didn't take Will's comment to be critical of Kim, but just bringing a new thought to the topic. I usually agree with comments from both of you, but I'm just thinking we on here should be a little more tolerant of other views, and different ways of expressing them. Kim often talks about her family, which I think is very brave of her, but I'm sure she wouldn't do so unless she were well capable of taking challenging comments. Some people who comment, myself included, are autistic adults, and Tact is not our middle name! I have a great concern for ALL who have suffered during this "lock-up", but I say again, it is going to get worse!

susan welch

Grace, I'm sorry if you misunderstood where I was coming from. I am a member of UK Column and watch it every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I wasn't commenting on anything specific that Will had posted. I just wanted to read a more optimistic post from him. Preferably one that wasn't being critical of AoA.

Grace Green

Susan Welch,
I thought Will's comment wasn't unreasonable. Perhaps he expresses his view rather forcefully because of being autistic? But if you watch UKColumn you will see that most if not all of the excess deaths of the last five months have been CAUSED by the "lockdown"! Not the virus. Imagine the human suffering that amounts to. And very few of those will involve the well-cared-for autistic children of the supermoms like Kim and all the others reading this. Of course it has been a huge struggle for many, but sometimes there are people worse off, and also, we should all be attending to what the future holds because it will probably be many times worse than now. I am still advocating the coming together of all those poisoned by vaccines and other man-made pollutants.

Laura Hayes


Your comments to AoA Managing Editor, Kim Rossi, are unwarranted, unkind, and unacceptable. Additionally, this is not the first time you have directed unjustified negative and harsh comments to her. Were it not for Kim and her daily efforts, amidst singlehandedly raising 3 severely disabled young adult daughters, we would not be reading this excellent website every single day of the year.

Regarding your comment about the need for her to lobby the government, I would like to point out to you that our government and its many agents are the problem.

Lastly, a reminder that you are not privy to the private details of Kim’s or her daughters’ lives, so you do not know how important her daughter’s therapy is for her, and/or for the well-being of her entire family.

If you appreciate AoA, please support Kim and her efforts. If you don’t, there are many other websites to peruse.

E. Villa

Is there a contact number or name of Lawfirm. We are having same issues in Ca.

susan welch

Will, please can you find it in your heart to post a positive comment on here?

I do understand that you are angry but presumably, as you are a regular reader of this site, there must be something that is posted that pleases you. Otherwise why do you access it?

It would make my day to see you being happy about something.


Let us not forget developmentally disabled young adult and teenagers are dying more frequently than other young adults from the SARS COVID 19 than others their age especially those in group homes. Neither liberal nor conservative give a darn about disabled people despite all this rhetoric and the government will not provide protective gear nor physical distancing measures for said disabled people.
I am sure Mrs Kim Rossi's daughter can live without her therapy for a few months she needs to worry about protecting her daughter's health and lobbying the government to protect the health of the developmentally disabled during this pandemic.

Grace Green

I think a lot more is going to be heard fairly soon about the suffering of many children, especially "autistic" children, but also those who are in care, foster homes, or who were already living in abusive or dangerous situations. There is also the proposed abuse of children having to be "socially distanced", bemasked, and awash with chemical hand gels, in order to return to school. Thankfully, Scotland seems to be stopping short of such abuse, but almost no country in the world will come out of this plandemic without having a lot to answer for. Well done to these people for setting the ball rolling. There can be no excuse.

Thorton Timms

We are currently battling our school district in California for the same thing.
Is there more information or a contact we can have for this lawsuit.

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