Jackson v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago
On August 29, 2019, Disability Rights Advocates and Legal Council for Health Justice filed a class action lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”) challenging CPS’s policy of denying free nutrition programs to students whose disabilities require them to attend therapeutic day schools (“TDS”).
The named plaintiff – the guardian of a student with several disabilities who has been unable to access CPS’s nutritional programs ever since CPS transferred her to a TDS – hopes to end this discriminatory policy and recoup the money that she and other parents have been forced to spend on meals.
Since 2014, CPS has participated in a federally-funded program called the Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch Program that reimburses school districts with high poverty rates for all nutritional programs, including school breakfast, lunch, and other snacks, for all students, including those living in poverty. However, CPS denies free access to these programs for the hundreds of CPS students with disabilities attending TDSs because CPS cannot meet their educational needs in community schools.
The lawsuit, which alleges violations of the federal civil rights laws designed to eliminate disability-based discrimination, including Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, hopes to rectify this issue by forcing CPS to change its policy and stop excluding students with disabilities from its free nutrition programs.