Birth injury and cerebral palsy lawsuits are not restricted to medical malpractice. Disabled children go on to face many issues as they get older, and parents have a right to seek justice for them. The last year has seen several cases involving children with cerebral palsy experiencing discrimination and poor services at school. Their parents fought back.
Special Education Services During Pandemic Shutdowns
Most schools shut down for some period of time during the peaks of the coronavirus pandemic, some for months. Distance learning presents challenges for all students and families, but the problems are amplified for those with special needs.
Children with disabilities have a right to special services through the public schools, regardless of whether learning is online or in-person. Many parents felt that their schools failed to provide those services.
Parents in the Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas, are suing the district over a failure to provide adequate services for their children. Several of those children have cerebral palsy and rely on special education services.
The parents allege that the schools have not provided a free and appropriate education, which is required under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. The case is ongoing, but the parents are seeking to reopen schools or to receive funds from the district so they can find educational services somewhere else.
Discrimination in Private Schools
A 13-year-old student with cerebral palsy is claiming discrimination by a private school, Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans. The student is in a wheelchair, and the school administrators told her mother they could not accommodate her.
Private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools, but the family claims this school cannot discriminate because of funding. The school received Paycheck Protection Program funds because of the pandemic. With federal funding, their lawyer says, the school should be held to the same standards of accommodations for disabilities as public schools.
School Negligence Injures Child with Cerebral Palsy
Another recent case does not involve the pandemic but highlights how negligent care can harm a child with disabilities. The mother of a child with cerebral palsy recently began a lawsuit against the Alpine School District in Utah.
The mother alleged that her child, who uses a wheelchair, suffered injuries from negligent care at school. In two separate incidents, an aide at the school let the wheelchair go at the top of a hill during recess. The child crashed and had to go to the hospital on both occasions.
The family says that the school district is negligent in not training their aides to use wheelchairs properly or to care for disabled students. They are seeking damages to cover the medical costs from the accidents as well as the legal fees.
Children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities deserve safe, free, and appropriate educational services, as do all children. Sometimes it is necessary for families to step in, and with the assistance of lawyers, ensure their children receive services and that negligent schools are held accountable.