Policy Analyst – Education
Across Illinois, parents of students with disabilities are being asked to pick up their children in the middle of the day for behavior issues.
These informal, undocumented school removals result in students missing vital services. They also create a significant burden for working parents.
HB 5096 aims to reduce classroom removals by requiring documentation for each removal and triggering a reassessment of a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) if removals become frequent.
Furthermore, a national report has recorded the damage. The National Disability Rights Network recently published “Out From The Shadows: Informal Removal of Children with Disabilities from Public Schools.” You can view the report through this link.
Constant Removals Create a Serious Burden on Families. Some families report being called to pick up their student several times a week! Parents report losing their jobs because they are called so often to leave work. Then they are denied unemployment benefits, despite having no option but to pick up their child.
No Records are Kept. Informal removals are not recorded, meaning that parents cannot use constant removals as evidence to update services provided in their student’s Individualized Education Plan.
The IDEA is intended to provide disabled children with appropriate special education services so that they can learn in school with their peers without disabilities. If a child is sent home, the child not only loses educational services, but also loses critical access to free or reduced-price nutrition and health care.
Advocates report that these “informal” suspensions occur most often with pre-K and elementary age children, disproportionately low-income children and children of color.
Children’s Law Group
Civitas ChildLaw Center at Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Equip for Equality
Hartlieb & Horste Special Education Attorneys
Illinois Assistive Technology Program
Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois
Legal Council for Health Justice
LIFE Center for Independent Living
Matt Cohen & Associates
Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education
RAMP Center for Independent Living
Stand for Children
Start Early: Champions for Early Learning
If you are a parent of a student with a disability and are experiencing informal school removals, please contact Frank Lally at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 640-2134.