Parents of disabled students suing Georgia over school program

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By: Associated Press
October 13, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - Parents of disabled students and a group of advocates say in a federal lawsuit that Georgia schools have put thousands of children into a separate program and failed to give them an adequate education.

The Georgia Advocacy Office and other groups said in a statement that they filed the lawsuit this week in the northern district of Georgia's federal courts.

The complaint alleges that the students have been segregated into a program known as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, or GNETS.

According to the Georgia Department of Education's website, the programs "provide comprehensive educational and therapeutic support services to students who might otherwise require residential or other more restrictive placements due to the severity of one or more emotional and behavioral disorders."

Parents and advocacy groups say Georgia is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act requires disabled students to receive the same level of education as other children.

Georgia Department of Education spokeswoman Meghan Frick declined to comment Thursday.

The Horizon Academy in Valdosta serves Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties. The Pathways Educational Program located in Thomasville serves students from Colquitt, Decatur, Grady, Seminole and Thomas Counties.

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