News Room

Issa v. School District of Lancaster (3d Cir., 2016)

The ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Education Law Center, and pro bono counsel Pepper Hamilton LLP filed a federal lawsuit on July 19, 2016, alleging that the School District of Lancaster (SDOL) has been illegally refusing to enroll older immigrant students with limited English proficiency or diverting them to an inferior, privately operated disciplinary school, rather than allowing them to attend the district’s regular high school. The plaintiffs include six refugees aged 17-21 from Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burma who have fled war, violence, and persecution in their native countries.

The problem of school districts refusing to enroll LEP students or placing them in sub-standard programs appears to be increasing around the country. This is the third federal lawsuit filed on this issue in the past fifteen months, with earlier cases filed against school districts in Utica, New York, and Collier County, Florida.

Click here to download a copy of the complaint. The case has been assigned Case No. 16-cv-3881.

Click here to view the original press release from July, 2016.

Click here to view the press release in response to the court’s decision from August, 2016.

Click here to view the court’s ruling on August 26, 2016.

Click here to view the Third Circuit’s decision from January 30, 2017.

Click here to view our January 30, 2017 press release.