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Parents File Complaint With Department of Education Against Success Academy Charter Schools

Parents File Complaint with Department of Education Against Success Academy Charter Schools

A group of parents have filed a formal complaint against Success Academy Charter Schools for pushing them to withdraw their children and over-disciplining students with disabilities.

The complaint was filed with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and several other organizations such as the Partnership for Children’s Rights have joined in as well.

This is not the first time Success Academy and its founder Eva Moskowitz have been accused of forcing underperforming students out of the network.

In October, PBS NewsHour released the findings of an investigation that found that in one year, Success Academy Prospect Heights handed out 44 infractions to just 11 students. 

And “[a]ccording to a recent New York Times investigation, one mother said her daughter’s name was on a list of 16 names shared by administrators with the heading “Got to Go,” and nine of those children were later withdrawn from the school after a slew of suspensions and meetings with school officials. The story also reports that former staff say they did not automatically send annual re-enrollment forms to certain students because the school did not want them back,” said ThinkProgress.org.

Specifically, “[t]he complaint says that Success often fails to identify students with disabilities or provide them with accommodations, and when they remain at Success schools, retaliates against them through suspensions, making them repeat grades, and calling 911 to force the hospitalization of kids as young as five, all in violation of federal law,” said TheGothamist.com.

13 students with disabilities are at the center of the suit.

One of the students’ parents, Katie Jackson, said that her son’s special needs required him to be in a smaller class, but was not offered the opportunity at Success.

"Harlem 2 never offered other standard support services, according to the complaint, and starting this school year, administrators started calling Jackson saying that her son was acting out,” TheGothamist said.

"In one instance lawyers cite, he was upset because he was standing on line with other students at the end of the school day holding a quiz with a large F grade on it. When Jackson asked about it, she says administrators told her it is school policy for students who fail a quiz to keep it visible until their parents arrive to pick them up.”

This is just one of many, many horrific complaints that have come out of Success Academy, including allegations of pressure so intense during standardized-testing taking, that students pee their pants instead of using the restrooms.

Moskowitz stands by the policies in her schools, arguing that strict discipline helps students learn and develop better in the long run.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/25/2016

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