After receiving a winning verdict on November 4, 2021, a group of fifteen Northern California students will be granted the opportunity to continue the 2021-2022 school year with virtual instruction.
A California State Law, Assembly Bill (AB) 130, passed in July 2021, limited student access to online learning, not taking into account the heightened health risks that affect many students with disabilities and special needs.
The students directly affected by this bill are typically at high risk for medical complications from COVID and have not returned to the classroom this fall due to the nature of a school environment. With the passing of AB 130, students across California lost the opportunity to learn and receive services in the safe, supported, and familiar environment of their homes where many of them have experienced growth.
Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, ruled that AB 130 limited the students’ access to public education on the basis of their disability which violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
While this specific case win only pertains to 15 students, the Court begins preliminary injunction on November 30, 2021 to hear litigation that may impact students across California. Parents and Disability Rights advocates are pushing the state to give school districts the ability to make independent and appropriate decisions that will better support their student populations.
Jennifer Chang is a California Special Education Rights attorney who fights for children with special needs to get them the education and services they are entitled to by law.