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In 2007 eight families in Ardmore, Pennsylvania filed a civil suit against the Lower Merion School District claiming that Black students were disproportionately placed in special education and low-level classes. A year prior the Educational Researcher published a four page report by Wanda J. Blanchett who argued race is a factor when placing Black students in special education classes. The findings of this study along with the pending civil suit against Lower Merion School District are prime examples of why parents must be vigilant in their child’s education. Parents need to also be advocates for their children to keep this sort of wrongful categorization from happening.

The families claimed that while African-Americans only make up about eight percent of the student population each year, they make up nearly double that of the district’s special education population — about 14 percent, according to local newspaper The Ardmore Patch.

The plaintiffs further alleged that there were no African-American students in any honors, AP or IB courses between 2005 and 2008. The school district is also accused of misidentifying certain African-American students “as being disabled and mentally retarded in order to remove them from the general curriculum,” the report adds.”

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