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Judge tosses lawsuit by parents who say their children with learning issues were unfairly targeted by Covid-19 school shutdowns

A federal judge in Boston today dismissed a lawsuit by parents of several special-needs students in greater Boston alleging their children were unfairly singled out by the rapid shift from in-person to online learning as Covid-19 tore through the state in 2020 and 2021.

In his ruling, US District Court Judge Richard Stearns says the children were not, in fact, treated differently than other children - who also had to shift to online learning - and that while the transition was difficult, the federal government allowed school districts to try to develop online curricula aimed at students with "individualized education plans" in the face of a pandemic.

Also, nothing the school districts or the state did rose to the level of racketeering, Stearns wrote.

In 2020 and 2021, the Governor and school officials closed schools in response to a new and alarming pandemic. They made these decisions without the hindsight that we now have, two and half years later. While the court is sympathetic to the fact that the lengthy period of remote schooling was difficult for plaintiffs and their children, as it was for many other students and their families, the Complaint has not identified any legal basis to lay the blame at defendants’ door.

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PDF icon Complete ruling214.05 KB

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