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Disability Rights Legal Center Newsletter
Good News Report
DRLC Newsletter

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shawna Parks Argues at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals        

  Seal of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 

DRLC's Legal Director, Shawna Parks, argued at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles Unified School District v. Michael Garcia, 2:09-cv-09289-VBF-CT. The case, part of the DRLC's work on special education for young adults in correctional settings, addressed a question of first impression in California regarding which education agency is responsible for serving young adults ages 18 to 22 who are eligible for special education but who are housed in county jails. The DRLC is arguing that the school district is responsible for the direct provision of services, but that the California Department of Education is responsible for oversight, monitoring and back- up, which requires it to create a system of coordination amongst districts to provide the services.The Ninth Circuit Court's decision is expected sometime next year. Listen to a recording of the oral arguments.

DRLC's Education Advocacy Featured in California Watch  

 California Watch logo

On December 16, investigative news outlet California Watch posted an article about DRLC's lawsuits against Riverside Unified School District. The district has been manipulating parents into signing "confidential settlements," which include waiving their rights to participate in their child's program for the school year. In the article the plaintiffs share their experiences and emotions with reporter Joanna Lin. Mojdeh Ghadiri-Asli, whose first language is Farsi, tells Lin that she was offered a few hours to review a two-page settlement for her daughter, who has severe language, visual and social behavior impairments. Krista McGhee, whose son has Asperger's syndrome, told California Watch: "I was just at my wit's end. I felt like a soldier with battle fatigue. ... I felt backed into a corner." The McGhees signed their confidential agreement within an hour. Heather McGunigle, DRLC Inland Empire Program Director, and the attorney representing both parties, is prominently featured in the story. The families are asking the court to declare the settlements unenforceable, to order the district to end this illegal practice, and to compensate the children with services they lost because of the district's misconduct. See B.K.M., et al. v. Riverside Unified School District, et al. CV 11-08287 JHN (SPx) and Y.G., et al. v. Riverside Unified School District et al. EDCV 10-01002 CAS (OPx).  

Buzz From the FDR Dinner Has Not Worn Off 


Paula Pearlman and Craig Robinson
Paula Pearlman and Craig Robinson

The Beverly Hills Courier wrote on December 9th "Kaufman Honored For Advocacy To Ensure Access For Diabetes Patients," and on December 3rd DiabetesHealth wrote "Nick Jonas Receives DREAM Award From Disability Rights Legal Center." The dinner was featured in the December 12th  Los Angeles Business Journal, in the People on The Move section, and the December 16th  Los Angeles Daily Journal, in the Community News section. The Daily Journal ran a photo from the dinner of Paula Pearlman, DRLC Executive Director, with Craig Robison, Chief Diversity Officer at NBCUniversal, honored with the DRLC's Corporate Diversity Award. The broad coverage of the event and honorees is raising awareness about the challenges people with disabilities face each day, and the important advocacy work by disability rights leaders, and by organizations such as the DRLC.

Good News Going on Vacation 


Disability Rights Legal Center wishes everybody a happy and joyous holiday season. This is the final Good News Report for 2011. We will resume on January 6, 2012 with more information of interest. 

Change a Life this Holiday Season 


As you make your end-of-year giving decisions, please consider a donation to the Disability Rights Legal Center to champion the rights of people with disabilities. Click here for DRLC's donation page.   


If you are still looking for gifts, you can support the work of the DRLC simply by shopping online. Become an iGive member and choose the DRLC as one of the causes you support, then click on an iGive link to hundreds of participating retailers, including Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, DisneyStore.com, Macy's, ProFlowers, and Sport Chalet. Causes always receive 100% of the donation amount advertised on iGive's website. Go to iGive.com to sign up.


The Board of Directors and Staff of the DRLC wish everyone a happy holiday season.   




Paula Pearlman     

Executive Director

How to Help   

Shop at Ralphs and Defend Rights of People with Disabilities  
Ralph's Community Contributions Program logo

Thank you so much for championing the rights of people with disabilities by supporting the DRLC through Ralphs Community Contribution Program. The new program year began on September 1, 2011. Even if you are currently registered as a member, you must register again. The DRLC uses every dollar donated from this program to serve people with disabilities. Please visit www.ralphs.com  to both re-register and to register.


The online credit card donation feature is available on the Make a Donation page of the DRLC website. This quick and easy function can be used for general donations.   



Visit the How You Can Help page of our website to volunteer as a pro bono attorney on a disability rights case, work as a student law clerk or assist with intake and administrative responsibilities.


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DRLC Group Photo 2011
Disability Rights Legal Center Staff October 2011