Doe v. State of Ohio Lawsuit Granted Final Approval
March 2, 2020 / Doe v Ohio
A federal judge has granted final approval to the comprehensive settlement agreement in the class action Doe v. State of Ohio lawsuit. The settlement reached will improve integration and academic achievement of Ohio students with disabilities.
“This is a monumental day for Ohio’s students with disabilities," said Kerstin Sjoberg, Disability Rights Ohio Executive Director. “We have worked diligently with our partners and collaboratively with the Ohio Department of Education to reach a comprehensive settlement that delivers what the law requires, a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities. The plan will enhance academic achievement, promote inclusion and improve the supports students with disabilities receive in school. After years of litigation, this settlement will improve outcomes for students with disabilities in real and concrete ways and that is cause for celebration.”
The settlement commits the State to improving rates of integrating students with disabilities in general education settings, and improving their academic achievement, particularly in the 11 districts where experts found systemic denials of a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE). The settlement will also focus on the educational foundation of literacy and language as well as improving special education services to students with disabilities, by, among other things, emphasizing the use of assistive technology and universal design for learning (“UDL”). The latter is a way of teaching that uses different methods to teach the same material so as many students as possible understand what is being taught. Both help students with disabilities fully participate in the classroom and succeed in school.
An Advisory Group will assess the state’s progress and determine whether the required outcomes are being achieved. If they aren’t, the plan will include mechanisms for modifications. There is also a dispute resolution process that allows DRO and its co-counsel to bring concerns to the Ohio Department of Education and, ultimately the Court, if the state is not meeting the settlement’s objectives.
Below, you can find links to the full press release and court documents for more information about this update:
Opinion and Order to Adopt the Report and Recommendation