FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Jill Wohl, 312-605-1980
Chicago Public Schools Vows to Fix Transportation Policy After Parent and Advocate Outcry
District to continue to provide transportation to preschool students with IEPS
CHICAGO—Chicago Public Schools released a letter to network and school leaders Wednesday evening stating that “effective immediately,” a new policy would provide transportation to preschool students with individualized education programs (IEPs). The previous CPS policy (hyperlink) had denied transportation to, at a minimum, hundreds of preschool students with special education needs.
At the CPS Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, seven speakers presented the case against the previous CPS transportation policy during the public participation portion. Donita Lamour, a Barbara Vick parent, stated, “I’m at risk of losing my job if I have to keep taking off work to address transportation issues with my son.” Her 3 year-old son was born two months premature and suffered a brain bleed on both sides of his brain. When he received his IEP in late July this year, transportation was not included. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Director of Policy at Erikson Institute, noted that if the transportation policy remained unaddressed, elimination of services would “violate federal law protecting the rights of children per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”
Because of collective community backlash from parents, providers and early learning advocates from the Legal Council for Health Justice, Erikson Institute, Latino Policy Forum, Ounce of Prevention, and more, CPS announced it plans to rescind its policy. If implemented, the newly announced policy will restore transportation as a related service to families with preschool-aged children with IEPs.
Legal Council for Health Justice uses the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity, and well-being for people facing barriers due to illness and disability. All programs partner with health and hospital systems to train and support the care provider network, provide direct representation to referred patients, and conduct systemic advocacy to promote health equity among populations facing chronic, disabling, and stigmatizing health and social conditions. www.legalcouncil.org