Investigation Resolution

Civil Rights Investigation: Los Angeles Unified Failed to Meet Needs of Students with Disabilities During Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has resolved an investigation of the Los Angeles Unified School District with an agreement requiring it to provide educational services and compensatory services for the 66,000 students with disabilities for whom the district “failed to provide services” for as required by law, according to a news release.

OCR’s investigation found that the district did not provide the services identified in the students’ Individualized Education Programs and Section 504 plans during remote learning, the agency said.

OCR said it “found that during remote learning, the district:

“Limited the services provided to students with disabilities based on considerations other than the students’ individual educational needs.

“Failed to accurately or sufficiently track services provided to students with disabilities.

“Directed district service providers to include attempts to communicate with students and parents — including emails and phone calls — as the provision of services, documenting such on students’ service records.

“Informed staff that the district was not responsible for providing compensatory education to students with disabilities who did not receive FAPE during the COVID-19 school closure period because the district was not at fault for the closure. And,

“Failed to develop and implement a plan adequate to remedy the instances in which students with disabilities were not provided a FAPE during remote learning.”

District leaders agreed to create and implement a “comprehensive plan to address the compensatory education needs of students with disabilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the news release.

The letter to Los Angeles Unified School District detailing the findings of OCR’s investigation is available at this ED web page, and the full resolution agreement is also available on the ED website.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].