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Refugees sue School District of Lancaster; 6 students say they were denied admission or diverted to an ‘educational dead end’

July 19, 2016 – by Kara Newhouse –

Some of the neediest students are being turned away at the doors of Lancaster city schools, a group claims in their lawsuit against the school district.

Six refugees filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Tuesday, saying that the School District of Lancaster has denied them the “meaningful and equal education” they are due under federal and state laws.

The students and their parents are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the Education Law Center and Pepper Hamilton LLP, all of Philadelphia.

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Their complaint says that the school district regularly refuses to admit older immigrant and refugee students, or assigns them to an “inferior” alternative school with insufficient support for overcoming language barriers.

A school district spokeswoman said that the complaint is “without merit.”

The refugee students are asking the court to order the district to admit them and all other similar students to McCaskey High School for the school year that begins Aug. 30.

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