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The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a settlement agreement in a lawsuit against the North Gibson School Corporation.

Officials began investigating last August under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after receiving a complaint that the school district inappropriately secluded and restrained students with emotional and behavioral disabilities in the district’s self-contained classrooms.

The agency says the investigation confirmed that students as young as five years old were secluded and improperly restrained repeatedly, resulting in days and sometimes weeks of lost instructional time.

The department also investigated allegations that the school district regularly and inappropriately sent these students home early from school, placed them on abbreviated school days, and assigned them to homebound instruction.

The school fully cooperated during the investigation and voluntarily suspended using their seclusion rooms before the investigation was completed.

They also have agreed to take the following steps outlined in the agreement:

  • Change its policies to prohibit the use of seclusion rooms
  • Report all instances of restraint and review whether they were justified
  • Take steps to avoid placing students with emotional and behavioral disabilities on abbreviated school days or homebound instruction and document those steps
  • Create and implement a procedure for handling complaints of disability discrimination
  • Provide appropriate training and resources to help schools implement the agreement
  • Appoint an Intervention Coordinator to ensure the district’s compliance with the agreement and Title II of the American’s Disability Act (ADA)

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