- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A judge has denied a request by Knox County Schools to dismiss a federal lawsuit related to students with disabilities.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (https://bit.ly/1lEZjLa ) that three families of elementary school students filed a lawsuit in Nashville claiming that students with disabilities have been placed in more segregated school settings than necessary.

The lawsuit, which also names the Tennessee Department of Education, alleges “long failures by (Knox County Schools) to adhere to principles of ‘least restrictive environment’ for children with pervasive disabilities.”

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled this week that, because the families are challenging systemic practices, it would be pointless for the district and state to try to have the case dismissed through state administrative procedures.

Melissa Tindell, the school system’s spokeswoman, said Friday that “everyone in the Knox County Schools takes their responsibility to provide an excellent education for every student very seriously, but as a matter of practice, we do not comment about matters in litigation.”

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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