Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

In 1971, we brought the seminal lawsuit Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the first right-to-education suit in the country, to overturn that Pennsylvania law and secure a quality education for all children. The case quickly settled before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pa., resulting in a consent decree in which the state agreed to provide a free public education for children with mental retardation. That decree and many of the procedural protections in it became the basis for the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) enacted in 1975. The next year the Law Center filed PARC II to enforce the Act against the School District of Philadelphia.

Case Progress

July 1982
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved the settlement agreement. (Case Documents: Settlement Documents)

June 1981
Trial (Case Documents: Trial Brief of the Petitioners)

October 1976
PARC’s Motion for Finding Contempt Against Philadelphia School District (Case Documents)

May 1972
Court orders "access to a free public program of education and training appropriate to his learning capacities." (Case Documents: Order and Injunction)

January 1971
We filed a complaint against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Case Documents: Complaint)