Friday, August 3, 2018

Federal court rules lawsuit vs Success charters can go forward as NYS admits overpaying them by $1.5 Million

Moskowitz and her family

This week, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that a lawsuit vs Success Academy could go forward to trial on behalf of some of the children who were on the "Got to go" list put together by the principal of Success Academy Fort Greene, Candido Brown.  These children were subsequently pushed out out of the school.The decision is here.  
While the school claims they simply made "errors in judgement," the practice of repeatedly suspending kids and calling ACS on their parents if they don't pick them up promptly in the middle of the school day is a common practice at Success, used to persuade parents to pull their children out of the school. Other methods commonly used by the school include calling the police to take unruly children either to the precinct house or to a hospital emergency room.
Here's an excerpt from the judge's decision:
Meanwhile,  NYSED reported today that last year it had overpaid charter schools and underpaid NYC from federal Title II funds.  The spreadsheet is here, revealing that Success charter schools were overpaid by $1.5 million; and NYC public schools underpaid by $7.1 million, which will only be repaid slowly over four years. 

The press release about the court decision is below.   

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Stroock and Advocates for Justice Win Decision in Case Against Success Academy Charter School for Discriminating Against Children With Disabilities
(New York , NY August 2, 2018) — A federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled that a publicly funded New York charter school network must face a discrimination case involving young children with disabilities.

The suit details how Success Academy staff placed children with disabilities, including the five plaintiff children, aged four to six at the time, on a “got-to-go” list. It describes how the charter school imposed a disciplinary code that included early-morning suspensions for fidgeting or grimacing and calling police on a six-year-old who had a tantrum.

Success Academy , which conceded that the “got-to-go” list existed, argued that the charter school was improperly sued for discrimination and that the case shouldn’t be allowed to proceed.

The strongly worded August 1 ruling from the Eastern District of New York noted that the school “runs a strict disciplinary system, ” and “requires the students to always be on task,” and that “teachers use stopwatches to script the school day, and students must carry ‘air bubbles’ in their mouths when walking from class to class so they do not speak to one another.” The suit alleges that this system was used to push the five children out of Success Academy by subjecting them to “zero-tolerance” discipline.

The children and their parents are represented by nonprofit civil rights law firm New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, pro bono counsel from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, and Advocates for Justice.

Irene Mendez, staff attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, said: “Instead of helping them, Success Academy systematically drummed out three children with disabilities and two who showed signs of having disabilities. They targeted kindergartners and first-graders for removal by putting them on a ‘got-to-go’ list. They sent a first-grader to St. Luke’s psychiatric ward just because he had a tantrum, and suspended these very young children for minor things like fidgeting, or even for being slow to complete their work. Then they brazenly tried to claim that these children had no case.”

Kayley McGrath, an associate in Stroock’s Litigation Group, noted: “Success Academy’s rigid enforcement of its militaristic disciplinary code sent a clear message to these families: ‘You are not welcome here.’  Unlike Success Academy, Judge Block’s decision refused to cast them aside.”

Laura Barbieri, of counsel to Advocates for Justice, said: “ We have been attempting to address the disregard Success Academy has for children with disabilities, ever since their rapid expansion began in 2012. This decision could mark a turning point; parents whose children have been mistreated should now have a roadmap to getting redress. Success owes a lot to the children they abused. And Judge Block has opened the door to a remedy. ”

Copies of the ruling are available at www.nylpi.org<http://www.nylpi.org> .

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)

Founded more than 40 years ago by leaders of the bar, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest pursues equality and justice for all New Yorkers. NYLPI works toward a New York where all people can thrive in their communities, with quality healthcare and housing, safe jobs, good schools, and healthy neighborhoods. In NYLPI’s vision, all New Yorkers live with dignity and independence, with the resources they need to succeed. NYLPI’s community-driven approach powers its commitments to civil rights and to disability, health, immigrant, and environmental justice. NYLPI seeks lasting change through litigation, community organizing, policy advocacy, pro bono service, and education.

NYLPI has a long history of fighting for New Yorkers with disabilities since its founding, including for access to the criminal justice system. NYLPI brought and won the first case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1992, enabling people with disabilities to gain access to the observation deck of the Empire State Building . Recent successes include a landmark suit which resulted in improved access to paratransit services for people with disabilities who are limited English proficient.  For more information, please visit www.nylpi.org<http://www.nylpi.org> .

About Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Stroockprovides strategic transactional, regulatory and litigation advice to advance the business objectives of leading financial institutions, multinational corporations and entrepreneurial businesses in the U.S. and globally. With a rich history dating back 140 years, the firm has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Stroock’s Public Service Project (PSP) is the cornerstone of the firm’s longtime commitment to serving the public interest: pro bono publico. Launched in March 2001, the PSP provides a broad array of legal assistance, concentrating on underserved, under-resourced communities in New York City. For more, visit www.stroock.com<http://www.stroock.com> .

About Advocates For Justice

Founded by Arthur Z. Schwartz in 2011 as a public interest organization, A4J grew from his 35-year history as a civil rights lawyer whose work focused largely on protecting workers from employment discrimination and violations of free speech. A4J has had an extensive docket of Education Law cases since its inception, and has focused its work on protecting children with disabilities, and parents fighting for more space and a more open process in the NYC public schools. For more information visit http://www.advocatesforjustice.net/

1 comment:

Jack Covey said...

*"A picture is worth a thousand years."*

What's indescribably creepy is the picture (ABOVE) accompanying Leonie's article. Apparently, there were protests outside Eva house, protests about the very things that the judge just found both Eva and her organization likely guilty of, or likely enough to be guilty of that he rejected Eva lawyers' calls for a dismissal, and instead called for a trial.

Look at this photo, I'm utterly gobsmaked, and wondering:

What sick, demented thought process led $800,000/year-salaried Eva, her husband Eric, and their three spoiled brat kids to run outside, grab away a poster from a protestor, and make a laughing, mocking pose with that poster for news photographers.

*"Eric! Kids! Wanna go have some fun?! Let's go outside and mentally torment and abuse the protestors!"*

""Sounds great, Honey!"* replies Eric Grannis (Eva's hubby.)

"Yeah, mom, we're all down for it! Maybe if we're mean and nasty enough, we can even make of few of them actually cry!"

Eva chimes in, *"Great idea! Well, we're never gonna know if we CAN actually make that bunch o wussies cry, not if we don't try. Put on your coats 'n caps, let's get to it!"*

Then they all run outside

Look at the picture ABOVE and the words on poster that they're holdingL
*"Success Academy (led by Eva) threatens to call 9-1-1 on first graders (i.e. 6-7 year olds).

Check out the looks of pure evil and utter sadism on the faces of Eva and her family members. The son (or daughter) on the left with the red knit cap giving the thumbs-up really stands out in this regard.

Yeah. Real funny, you family of scummy creeps!

It's almost as if, by holding it up, then acting as they are for photographers, Eva & family are saying back:

*"Yeah, we DO do that. We admit to all of it, and so what if we do? We don't give a sh#% about the damage that doing all this* --- *and the other things* --- *inflicts on the children and parents upon whom we inflict it. We're gonna keep it up, and there's not a damn thing any of you can do about it. We got Bloomberg, Klein, countless hedge fund billionaires, and tens of millions of dollars of lawyers protecting us. Ha! Ha! Ha!"*

Well guess again, Moskowitz family.

As this article detaols, there actually IS something that your victims can do to challenge your evil. They can file a lawsuit, and take you all out to the metaphorical woodshed for a good ol' fashioned metaphorical horse-whipping, and do it publicly (the woodshed part doesn't really work with the public part, but who cares?)

If I were the plaintiffs, I would blow up that photo to the size of a garage door, glue onto a similarly-sized piece of plywood,. and enter it as an exhibit for the judge and jury to view, leaving it up for for as long as possible.

Or perhaps, while Eva's on the stand, bring back the garage-door-size blow up and have the plaintiffs' lawyers pummel her with questions, asking her to defend what she's doing in that picture.