2018 Grantee Case Update From Bazelon Center

The Bazelon Center, with the generous support of the Barbara McDowell Foundation, and its co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit, Georgia Advocacy Office v. State of Georgia, in October 2017 alleging that the State of Georgia denies equal educational opportunity to and unnecessarily segregates thousands of students with disabilities by placing the students in the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Supports Program (GNETS). As a result of placement in GNETS, students with disabilities receive a separate and inferior education and are denied the opportunity to be educated with their non-disabled peers in neighborhood schools in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Plaintiffs recently filed a brief opposing Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. In that brief, Plaintiffs set forth in detail why the State’s arguments that its officials are not responsible for operating or administering the GNETS program and that, in any event, that GNETS does not violate the ADA’s Integration Mandate should be rejected. A decision from the court is expected shortly, after which work on discovery and class certification will begin in earnest. (May 2018)