On January 29, 2018, Equip for Equality filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Illinois State Board of Education. The complaint notes that CPS serves 52,903 students with disabilities, and, of those students, 42 percent (22,219 students) live in households where English is not the native language. The complaint alleges that CPS systemically failed to provide parents who have limited English skills the opportunity to have vital special education documents translated or explained in their native language. The complaint further alleges that CPS continually failed to provide competent interpreters at important special education meetings for parents with limited English skills. The complaint thus alleges that thousands of students with disabilities were harmed and denied the special education services that they require and are entitled to by law.
The complaint filed by Equip for Equality alleges violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Education Opportunities Act, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The class action complaint also names the Illinois State Board of Education as a defendant, for allegedly failing to provide proper oversight of CPS and for failing to provide interpretation and translated documents for due process hearings and mediations.
Ultimately, the class action complaint seeks a finding that CPS and ISBE are in violation of law, and an order requiring that parents with limited English proficiency be provided special education documents in their native language and language interpretation by competent interpreters at important special education meetings.