Class-action suit filed against McKeesport Area schools

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A class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of residents of the Auberle group home in McKeesport against the McKeesport Area School District, alleging that the Auberle residents who attend the district's schools are educated in separate classrooms.

Auberle houses children ages 7-18 who are placed there because they were adjudicated either dependent or delinquent.

The complaint, filed Thursday on behalf of 50 Auberle residents attending McKeesport schools, said state law gives the Auberle children the right to attend regular public schools, but that the district requires them to attend classrooms "designated solely for residents of the Auberle group home."

The classrooms are located on the second floor of the district's alternative school, known as the East End Academy.

Because of their segregation, the suit maintains, the Auberle youth have "far fewer educational and social opportunities" because they are educated in multi-grade classrooms, receive fewer instructional hours, have no access to vocational or advanced placement courses, libraries or laboratories and have limited access to computers and books.

In addition, the suit said, students who are designated as needing special education have limited access to those services.

The suit, filed by the Education Law Center in Philadelphia and KIDSVOICE of Pittsburgh, asks for a court injunction to force the McKeesport Area district to admit the Auberle children to regular public schools and offer them full access to all facilities.

District officials could not be reached for comment.

Mary Niederberger: ; 412-851-1512.


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