A class action lawsuit against Reynoldsburg City Schools could be filed by weeks end.
On Sunday, parents of students with IEP plans met with two attorneys in hopes they will take their case.
Rachelle Leavens-Hollingdale was among the 100 people in the crowd. She says she is angry that Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning has failed to provided qualified substitute teachers who would oversee the special education needs of students with disabilities.
Her son Nicholas attends Baldwin Road Junior High School.
“He has been diagnosed outside and inside the school with ADHD. He was also diagnosed with a handwriting disability and dyslexia,” said Leavens-Hollingdale.
Individualized Education Programs are guaranteed under federal law. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is designed to protect the education rights of students with disabilities. But since the teachers went on strike on September 19, parents like Leavens-Hollingdale claim the district isn’t delivering the services outline in a student’s IEP.
“He’s supposed to received one-on-one instruction,” said Leavens-Hollingdale. “Some days he doesn’t feel comfortable going. It’s very distracting for him.”
Attorney Darrin Leist and partner, Patrick Warner, are fielding parent concerns. Leist, who specializes in litigation, said the district must comply with federal law.
“They receiving funding through the Department of Education,” said Leist. “And by virtue of that, a public school is held to that standard to make sure they are providing an environment for those children with disabilities, as they would provide for students without disabilities.”
Leist, a resident of Reynoldsburg, said they need parents to gather and submit as much information as possible to build a case against the district.
“Children with autism, require stability. And there’s indication that, several reports from people that they are cycling substitute teachers through. And as a result, there’s no stability,” said Leist.
In order for the class action lawsuit to be file, at least 40 families must sign up to be represented. Leavens-Hollingdale said a GoFundMe account has been created to pay for the retainer. So far more than $1,400 has been raised.
Leavens-Hollingdale and other families hope the lawsuit forces the district to deliver what was promised to their students.
“They’re not learning anything and they’re only falling further behind,” said Leavens-Hollingdale.
Parents who want to join the lawsuit should email their information to the following accounts: