Gaskin v. Commonwealth


We file suit against the Commonwealth

After filing in 1994, the case went through a bitterly contested period of pretrial litigation. The case is named for its lead plaintiff, Lydia Gaskin, a trailblazer in Pennsylvania in the fight for inclusion. Born with Down syndrome, she and her parents fought from kindergarten through high school to make sure she was included and provided with real support. In high school, she took courses and graduated side by side with college-bound students.

Discovery was especially intense, encompassing the inclusion practices of every public school in the state. With help from experts, we conducted a scientific survey of ten school districts to determine what services actually were being provided to special education students; we reviewed selected IEPs in those districts to see if the resources and services were actually delivered; and we interviewed teachers and administrators to determine the basis of their placement decisions. We also reviewed the state’s compliance and monitoring systems, as well as statistics concerning placements in all state districts.