D.P. et al. v. School Board of Palm Beach County
On June 26, 2023, the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in D.P., et al. v. School Board of Palm Beach County. This private lawsuit was brought against the county school board, including its police department, on behalf of parents/guardians and their children with disabilities like Autism and other emotional or behavioral disabilities. The children were removed from school by police officers under a state mental health law after experiencing disability-related behavioral episodes. One of the lawsuit’s claims is that the school board discriminated against the children in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act when it did not reasonably modify its behavioral response while interacting with and removing the children from school. The Department filed the Statement of Interest to clarify that public entities like school boards have an obligation under the ADA to reasonably modify their behavioral response even if the child has not made a request for such modifications during a disability-related behavioral episode. The Statement also explains why the modifications sought in this case are not a fundamental alteration.