NYC students with disabilities file federal civil rights complaint against public school system over traffic issues

Seventeen families of students with disabilities are demanding a federal civil rights investigation into the city’s public schools over alleged routine denials statutory school bus transport.

Failure to provide reliable bus transportation and necessary accommodations forces students to miss out on valuable time for classes and after-school programs and unnecessarily long commutes. complaint.

“He really likes going to school,” said the Manhattan mother of an eight-year-old student with autism who missed weeks of school waiting for the bus. “He said, ‘I should have gone to school. I want to go to school, mom.” I’d say I don’t have a bus.”

Students walk to board a school bus in Manhattan's East Village.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Students walk to board a school bus in Manhattan’s East Village. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“He was trying to put on his shoes, bag. I have his thoughts, everything.”

City has have long tried to ensure reliable school transport to students with disabilities, who make up a disproportionate share of the 143,000 local children who are entitled to bus service every day.

Some children require female guards or paraprofessionals to supervise physically or medically fragile children on school buses—staffing that may take time to establish. The city is also roughly 500 school bus drivers short of the number it had before the pandemic, city data shows.

The families in the complaint are calling on the school system to more quickly reimburse families who pay out-of-pocket costs to get their children to school via carpooling and to appoint an independent monitor to oversee the Department of Education’s transportation policies and procedures. They also asked for consistent communication with families when their bus is running late.

School buses unload children at a school in New York (AP Photo/Seth Wen.ig)

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

School buses unload children at a school in New York (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“Our families and students with disabilities are fed up with endless bus delays, failure to include required accommodations and rude, unprofessional treatment by New York City DOE staff,” said Andrew Gerst, attorney for Mobilization for Justice.

“We’ve been hearing these stories for years. It is time for the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that no families of students with disabilities have to suffer this type of treatment again,” he said.

The Ministry of Education did not immediately return a request for comment.

Leave a Comment