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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 27,849
Location: Long Island, New York

02 Nov 2021, 11:25 am

The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Just two months after reaching a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over the treatment of autistic children, the Volusia County School Board is now facing a $50 million class action lawsuit filed by an attorney for a mother who says her autistic son has been mistreated for years in the school system.

Attorney Jason Harr of Daytona Beach filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court in Orlando on behalf of Kimberly Powell, whose son has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. No other parents or autistic children are part of the lawsuit as of now, but Harr said other parents have contacted him

The two-count lawsuit accuses the Volusia County School Board of violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and violating the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The lawsuit cites the settlement announced in August that the Volusia County School Board reached with the Department of Justice, which opened its investigation after receiving a complaint involving 11 students with disabilities, including nine with a diagnosis of autism. Powell’s son was not one of those students.

Powell joined Harr in his office on Wednesday afternoon in Daytona Beach. She said her 17-year-old son is now a senior at Atlantic High School and she asserted school system staff have been mistreating him all the way back to kindergarten.

“For no better term, he’s lived hell his entire school life,” Powell said. “He’s been bullied, he's been mistreated. He's been manhandled by teachers and parents and behavior specialists."

The News-Journal's investigation found that as the number of students with autism more than tripled in Volusia County, the level of staffing, funding and training for general teachers had stagnated — creating a system where families had to fight to get their children the help they are legally entitled to receive. It also found that the number of children with autism in Volusia County who are Baker Acted was up 500% over four years, even though experts that step will almost never help children overcome whatever behaviors they are exhibiting.

Hyperlink for “Baker Acted” = mine

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman