Civil rights lawsuits against schools are on track to double compared to four years ago thanks in large part to disability-related claims, according to a new review of federal court filings.
So far this year, 497 suits have been filed in federal courts across the country involving schools or universities that allege various civil rights violations.
More than 40 percent of the cases center on the treatment of students with disabilities. And nearly half involve allegations brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar laws.
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The figures come from an analysis of court data put together by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The organization regularly assesses trends in various areas of civil litigation in U.S. district courts.
Based on activity so far, the report projects that nearly 600 civil rights lawsuits involving educational institutions are expected to be filed this year, more than in any year since the courts began tracking these types of cases in late 2011.
Most of the civil rights litigation filed this year was brought in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan followed by courts in New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the report found.