ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) — The Justice Department has announced a lawsuit against the state of Georgia, alleging disability discrimination in the way the state treats students with disabilities in the Georgia Network for Education and therapeutic Support (GNETS) Program.


According to the lawsuit, Georgia segregates students with disabilities in GNETS when they could actually be with their peers in general education settings. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes a community integration mandate that requires states make services available to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting possible.


“Seventeen years ago the Supreme Court made clear that states must serve people with disabilities, including children with disabilities, in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs,” said principal deputy assistant attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.


Gupta said Georgia’s actions do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Justice Department considers community integration an important part of its stance on the treatment of those with disabilities.


“Students with disabilities in Georgia are entitled to access the services and supports that they need in the most integrated setting appropriate, where they can interact with and learn alongside their non-disabled peers and access educational opportunities that are equal to those available to other students,” Gupta said.

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