Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

I am a lay Parent Advocate assisting parents of children with disabilities in school IDEA, 504 and SST meetings. I am a former CHADD and LDA Coordinator, graduate of the 1st GA Advocacy Office PLSP legal training course and most importantly parent of two children with various disabilities.

Monday, July 20, 2015

DOJ Meetings on GA GNETS

From Leslie Lipson, GAO – Please forward to others!!

Hey Advocates,

I want to thank SO MANY of you for contacting us concerning your ability to assist with the advocacy surrounding the Department of Justice Letter of Finding that our state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  There are multiple ways to be involved, and I am writing to invite you into the process.  The Letter of Finding can be accessed here:  This is an incredible first step, and there is still much to be done during the negotiation and hopeful settlement regarding children returning to our neighborhood schools with smart, individualize supports. 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will visit Georgia during the week of July 26 and meet with families and students who have been in the GNETS or avoided the GNETS.  They want to hear from stakeholders. I know that we have a community of advocates ready and willing to tell the government what we need in our state to have students supported in their neighborhood schools.  If you cannot attend any of the meetings arranged in Georgia (see below for times and locations), the DOJ may be able to accommodate your schedule by meeting you at a different venue or speaking with you on the phone.   Please contact Torey Cummings at the DOJ at (202) 305-4204 or with questions or requests regarding how your voice can be heard.

 Locations and times:

Sun., July 26 at 5:30PM, Decatur Courtyard by Marriott, 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, Georgia 30030

Mon., July 27 at 1:00PM, Decatur Courtyard by Marriott

Mon., July 27, daytime Dublin location to be determined

Mon., July 27 at 6:00PM, Gainesville Fairfield Inn and Suites, 1755 Browns Bridge Rd., Gainesville, GA 30501

Mon., July 27 at 6:00PM, Macon Marriott City Center, 240 Coliseum Dr., Macon, GA 31217

Tues., July 28 at 6:00PM, Athens Springhill Suites, 3500 Daniells Bridge Road, Athens, GA 30606

Tues., July 28 at 6:00PM, Savannah Marriott Riverfront, 100 General McIntosh Blvd., Savannah, GA 31401

Weds., July 29, morning McDonough/Griffin Location to be determined

Another way to be involved would be for families and/or students to speak to the media about their experience in the segregated schooling and lack of access to positive inclusive opportunities.  Please email or call the Outreach Director Timothy Pratt ( 404.85.1234) if you are interested in this opportunity. 

Please Forward this email to other interested individuals because we are going to need to come together as a community to hold to the promise of a quality education in the "most integrated setting" for all.

 Leslie K. Lipson

Program Director

Georgia Advocacy Office

One Decatur Town Center

150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 430

Decatur, GA 30030

(404) 885-1234


Posted by: Leslie Lipson <>

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DOJ Finds State of GA Violates Federal Law with (GNETS) Separate and Unequal Educational System for Children with Disabilities

GREAT NEWS for GA students in GNETS!


From Leslie Kulbersh Lipson - From the US Department of Justice: "On July 15, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the State of Georgia stating that the State’s administration of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers in school. The State fails to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs."


DOJ  Finds State of Georgia Violates Federal Law with Separate and Unequal

Educational System for Children with Disabilities


Decatur, Ga., July 15 --  The State of Georgia has violated federal disability rights law by placing thousands of children with “behavior-related disorders” such as autism in a separate and unequal educational system, a Department of Justice investigation released today said.

Students with disabilities are unlawfully segregated from their peers in Georgia and denied educational opportunities as a result, the DOJ’s letter of findings said.

The result: “school is like a prison,”  one child said. “It’s a warehouse for kids the school system doesn’t want or know how to deal with,” a parent told investigators.

The federal government finds the state to be in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Georgia is the only state with an entirely separate, state-funded system for educating students with disabilities.

 “Georgia has created a whole culture of throwing kids away with this system,” said Ruby Moore, executive director of the Georgia Advocacy Office, which provided information about the issue to the DOJ throughout its two-year investigation.

The federal agency’s findings concern the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, or GNETS, a statewide network created in 1970 that consists of two dozen centers serving about 5,000 children with at least $70 million in state and federal funds, plus additional locally- and federally-funded services.

The network denies students equal access to resources widely available in public schools, such as physical education, art, music, gifted classes, electives -- or even regular interactions with teachers, as much of the instruction, particularly at the high school level, is online. They don’t have the opportunity to interact socially with other children in their communities and school systems, including at such events as football games, dances and other events important to children.  

Families also reported feeling “pushed” or “forced” into the GNETS program after one or several incidents involving their children. Investigators uncovered cases such as a public school student who was disciplined for being “verbally disruptive,” suspended for ten days, and then sent to GNETS. In another case, a student had been doing well with in-school supportive services in another state, only to have those services denied upon arriving to Georgia, with GNETS the only option offered his family.

The DOJ also found the network’s facilities to be “inferior,” often outdated and lacking such basic infrastructure as central air conditioning, as well as educational resources such as science labs and libraries, and extracurricular facilities such as gyms and playgrounds. Some of the GNETS facilities are actually located in buildings that were formerly used as segregated schools ultimately deemed illegal under Brown v. Board of Education.

“Placing children with disabilities in a separate system doesn’t promote emotional and behavioral development and learning, is contrary to best practices in the field, and is against the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Moore said.

The GAO is the federally-designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities in Georgia.


For further information, please contact: Ruby Moore, executive director, the Georgia Advocacy Office, Tel. 404-885-1234.

The DOJ Letter of Finding can be found here: