Parents are suing a New York City-area school district for allegedly denying them access to online classes that they said were required for their children’s English language learners.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court by the parents of a 7-year-old boy alleges that the district’s failure to provide the courses amounted to discrimination based on disability.
The lawsuit says the classes were required in order to teach English as a second language and were designed to improve the children’s abilities to understand and communicate with others.
“This lawsuit is the first of its kind to provide an accurate and timely account of what happened to our child in a classroom at our child’s school,” said attorney Michael J. Pirozzi in a statement.
Pirozzi is representing the parents in their lawsuit against New York’s Edgewater Elementary School, which is located on a busy stretch of Eighth Avenue.
The parents claim they enrolled their son in the online English classes after they discovered they were not eligible for the English language learner (ELLE) class.
The suit says the children are unable to read, write, or do math in English.
“The students are now unable to participate in a number of school activities, including PE, which has been a hallmark of our childs education and career,” the parents said in a joint statement.
“This includes sports, which he is currently involved in, as well as school extracurricular activities.”
The lawsuit says that after they complained to the district about the lack of classes, the school responded by telling them that the classes would not be offered until they could prove that they were eligible for an ELLE class.
Pirelli said that despite the parents’ concerns about the ELLE classes, school officials still denied them access.
“It is our understanding that Edgewater’s policy was to provide classes for children with disabilities, but after the families complaint, Edgewater changed its policy to allow the families to enroll in ELLE,” Pirozzis statement said.
“As a result of this change, the parents have been forced to cancel the ELL class, as a result they are no longer able to enroll their son into the course.”
The district declined to comment.
The parents did not immediately return a request for comment.
The students’ parents filed the lawsuit against the school last year.
They claim that they suffered discrimination because they were considered second-class citizens in the public schools, and that they have lost their homes and are living in shelters.
The complaint accuses the school district of failing to provide “reasonable accommodations” for its disabled students.