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Hamilton County Schools accused of over-segregating disabled students in lawsuit

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (Times Free Press) -

A lawsuit filed in Davidson County Chancery Court alleges that Hamilton County Schools segregates intellectually disabled students from regular classrooms nearly twice as much as the national average.

The lawsuit was filed by Justin Gilbert on behalf of the Hyde family of Chattanooga. Gilbert is a partner at Gilbert Russell McWherter, a law firm specializing in employment and insurance law with offices across the state.

The lawsuit does not contain the plaintiffs' names, only their initials for privacy reasons. However, last fall the family waived their rights to privacy in administrative court for the initial due process trial of the case, and their identity is publicly known.

According to the suit, 5 percent of Hamilton County's intellectually disabled students are present in regular classrooms 80 percent of the time, as opposed to the national rate of 17.4 percent. Additionally, only 12 percent of disabled students spend more than 40 percent of the school day in the regular classroom in Hamilton County, in contrast with 44.1 percent nationally, and 36.5 percent statewide, the suit states.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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