Twenty-five Darien parents filed a complaint with the state Department of Education on March 20 claiming that the Darien special education system does not meet state standards and that federal funding should be pulled from the town.
"The extent of wrongdoing and violation of the rights of students with disabilities by the Darien Public Schools warrants serious consideration by the State Department of Education, pursuant to its supervisory responsibility over local education authorities pursuant to the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)," the complaint reads.
The parents requested that the Department of Education call a meeting to address the complaint, during which time the parents will provide documentation and testimony to show that the Darien Board of Education "has systematically excluded parents from the IEP (Individual Education Plan) Team process and has acted to defeat the collaborative team process mandated," the complaint said.
"I was hearing lots and lots of complaints from [Darien] parents that services were being cut and complaints that their students were disqualified from special education and the level of complaints and due process requests coming out of Darien was really quite high," said Andrew Feinstein, a Mystic-based attorney who specializes in special education cases. "Then this memo came out and it indicated that it wasn't a string of individual cases but an overall problem with the process."