Opponents of plan to mainstream disabled drop suit


The organizations and families that sued to stop Baltimore County schools from transferring children with disabilities out of special education centers dropped their lawsuit yesterday.

A federal judge dismissed the suit 10 days ago because the plaintiffs had not exhausted all available remedies. At that time, the plaintiffs' lawyer said she would ask U.S. District Judge John R. Hargrove to reconsider his motion.

But in a statement issued late yesterday, the attorney, Beth Goodman, said: "The plaintiffs collectively have decided to take no further action in this case. This decision is based on a variety of practical considerations, taking into account current circumstances and priorities for allocation of time, energy and financial resources."

In July, the Learning Disabilities Associations of Maryland and Metropolitan Baltimore, the Teachers' Association of Baltimore County and five families of children with disabilities filed suit to stop the transfer of hundreds of disabled children. The suit also questioned the procedures used to notify parents and determine children's placements.

"Certainly, we feel disappointed. This is not what we had hoped for," Ms. Goodman said. "But [the suit] has focused a tremendous amount of attention [on special education], and that has been beneficial."

Ms. Goodman also cited "significant changes in staffing and teacher training" and Gov. William Donald Schaefer's meeting with parents as beneficial effects of the suit. "It was useful. It sent a sign that there is a limit to what parents and teachers will put up with," she added.

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