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LA Community College District Won't Appeal Ruling That It Failed To Accommodate Blind Students

Students at Los Angeles City College in line for a back to school event on campus.
Students at Los Angeles City College in line for a back to school event on campus.
(Courtesy Los Angeles City College
Courtesy Los Angeles City College)
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The Los Angeles Community College District has decided not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal court ruled that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The district had not conceded despite losing twice in federal court. But with the deadline to appeal looming, LACCD at the last moment said it would continue settlement talks over a discrimination lawsuit filed by two blind students, who allege L.A. Community College failed to accommodate their disability.

Roy Payan and Portia Mason, along with the National Federation of the Blind, filed a lawsuit arguing their college should have provided help specific to their needs, including audio recordings of texts and computer screen-reading software, as the Los Angeles Times has reported. Still, the district claimed there was no deliberate discrimination against Payan and Mason, so it could not have broken any federal disability laws.

Several people spoke out about it at the district board's latest meeting on Wednesday.

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"In my opinion, you have lost at every single stage of this litigation," said Paul David Grossman, executive council for the Association on Higher Education And Disability. "In motions, in bench trials, in jury trial and before the 9th circuit ... frankly you were humiliated. Do not subject yourself to further humiliation by going on to the Supreme Court."

Roy Payan was a part of a group that filed a lawsuit against the district back in 2017. "We've earned the right to expect a decent education," he said.

"I don't want favoritism," Payan said. "I want the system to work."

In a statement, board president Gabriel Buelna says that the trustees stand "strongly united in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

He adds that the district "will always be a welcoming, inclusive higher education environment" for people "of all abilities and backgrounds."

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