Georgia’s ‘psychoeducational’ students segregated by race

Attorneys representing the state have also told federal officials that many complaints about the programs rely on “outdated information,” partly because the state has outlawed seclusion in locked rooms as a form of punishment and limited the use of physical restraints, the newspaper reported.
Others, however, say they believe there is a bias at work in the grouping together of Black children who are deemed disruptive or even threatening.
About 3,382 students were assigned last fall to the psychoeducational programs, formally known as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, or GNETS.
“As a Black kid, you keep getting in trouble,” Craig Goodmark, a lawyer with Atlanta Legal Aid who represents families of disabled children, told the newspaper.
“You get in trouble, there are no mental health services,” Goodmark said. “The only mental health services are in the GNETS. That sort of combines to create a reality.”
No other state operates a network of psychoeducational facilities like Georgia’s, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said that it is unnecessary.
“Nearly all students in the GNETS program could receive services in more integrated settings,” the agency said in a letter to Georgia officials last year, “but do not have the opportunity to do so.”
 
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