In 1992, homeless children and their parents filed a class action lawsuit in Illinois State Court against the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Coordinator for Homeless Children and Youth, the State Superintendent of Education, the Chicago School Board, and the Chicago School Reform ...
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In 1992, homeless children and their parents filed a class action lawsuit in Illinois State Court against the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Coordinator for Homeless Children and Youth, the State Superintendent of Education, the Chicago School Board, and the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees. A children class and parent class was created. The children class consisted of all children between the ages of three and twenty who were or would be living in Chicago, homeless, and not attending private or parochial schools. The parent class consisted of all parents or guardians of children in the children class, who were or would be homeless and living in Chicago. The Children's Rights Project of the Legal Assistance Foundation, the Homeless Advocacy Project of the Legal Assistance Foundation, and the Northwest Office of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago represented the class. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants' practices and policies relating to the education of homeless children in Chicago violated due process, the Illinois State Constitution, and various Illinois statutes.
Plaintiffs claimed that defendants routinely denied homeless children the opportunity to remain in their school of origin, imposed burdensome transfer requirements, denied adequate and timely transportation service, disregarded the wishes of the parents, and left children sitting in shelters for days and weeks without schooling. Additionally, the defendants failed to adopt policies to ensure that homeless children were not isolated or stigmatized.
On November 21, 1996, the parties reached a settlement agreement which laid out specific policies and procedures for enrolling, transferring, and maintaining school attendance for homeless children. The agreement eliminates barriers to enrollment by creating new procedures for transfer, maintenance of medical records, transportation, and eligibility for free or low cost meals. The City agreed to cease its "de facto" policy of enrolling homeless children in the school closest to the shelter they happen to be in.
On August 3, 1999, the Court (Michael Brennan Getty), on motion to enforce by the plaintiffs, found the City in violation of the Consent decree and issued and Order appointing an independent monitor, requiring extensive reporting, issuance of notice to families of their rights and or the availability of a dispute resolution procedure, revision of existing written policies, designation of liasons in every school, and distribution of bus passes, among other things.
The Court's Order is the most recent documment we have available.Sherrie Malone - 06/06/2006