Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. (NLCI), is pleased to announce that it has reached a positive and amicable settlement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding a 2009 lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement formalizes policies already in place at NLCI’s 185 private preschools, elementary schools, middle schools and specialty high schools across the nation.
The company is pleased to put an end to the nearly two-year-long proceedings. NLCI has always vigorously denied the claims, and the settlement does not constitute an admission of any liability, wrongdoing or violation of the ADA.
“The United States believed that it was in the public interest to settle the case rather than to litigate, and we view this outcome very favorably,” said George Bernstein, CEO of NLCI. “Our mission is to provide high quality education and to serve children with diverse backgrounds and learning needs. Reaching a settlement allows us to demonstrate our commitment to our students by avoiding costly and time consuming litigation that deflects from our mission and core values.”
In 2009, the DOJ’s Disabilities Rights Section filed a lawsuit against NLCI naming 13 children who had applied to or who were at NLCI schools between 2004 and 2008. Since 2004, NLCI’s 185 schools have served more than 2,860 students with disabilities and remain committed to serving as the gold standard for ADA classroom compliance. In that time period, NLCI has served thousands of students with disabilities including, but not limited to, those with autism, autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, depression, blood disorders, bipolar disorder, ADD, hearing and vision impairments, heart conditions, severe allergies, and behavior disorders.
Under the settlement, NLCI has agreed to pay a monetary settlement and will continue to implement the following policies:
- NLCI Disability Non-Discrimination Policy – Through this new document, NLCI will continue to provide quality education to all of its students, making its programs, facilities and services available on a non-discriminatory basis.
- Publication and Dissemination of Nondiscrimination Policy – NLCI will publicize its non-discrimination policy to all principals, teachers and other staff at all facilities throughout the NLCI national network. The policy will be posted on NLCI’s website and a copy of the policy will be made available to families of applicants and enrollees upon request.
- Training – NLCI will continue to ensure that its regional executives, principals and assistant principals receive top-notch education and training, including with regard to the company’s non-discrimination policy.
- Designation of an ADA Compliance Officer – NLCI will designate a person who reports to corporate senior management at NLCI headquarters regarding all ADA compliance matters.
“Throughout the litigation NLCI defended itself vigorously and to this day, maintains that the lawsuit should never have been brought in the first place,” Bernstein said. “However, in the face of the great burden of the litigation, NLCI leadership, principals and teachers remained committed to maintaining the organization’s superb reputation and worked tirelessly to compile information and records to repudiate the allegations contained in the lawsuit. We are happy to put an end to this chapter, and NLCI would like to thank our leadership, principals, teachers and families for their support and resilience in defending our excellent educational company.”