Pennsylvania Department of Education Settles Federal Civil Rights Probe

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Pennsylvania Department of Education

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) agreed to settle a federal civil rights investigation into complaints related to its statewide system of alternative education programs, known as Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY).

Complaints against the Pennsylvania Department of Education

In 2013, the Education Law Center (ELC) of Pennsylvania filed a discrimination complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the PDE. The non-profit legal advocacy group alleged that the PDE policies and practices regarding AEDY resulted in the discrimination of students with disabilities and African American students.

ELC argued that AEDY programs are limited and inferior to traditional public school programs. Therefore, denying students with disabilities and African Americans under these programs equal opportunities and access to quality educational experiences.

The non-profit legal advocacy group alleged that PDE’s AEDY programs violate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Details of the settlement agreement

 On Monday, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern, Middle, and Western District of Pennsylvania announced a settlement agreement with PDE.