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Judge Ends 26-Year Special Education Suit in Baltimore

A federal judge signed a joint settlement agreement Monday, putting an end to a 26-year-old special education lawsuit in Baltimore City.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis signed the agreement, which concludes court oversight of the schools, noting that Baltimore City Public Schools made significant progress with its special education program, according to the Maryland Department of Education. The agreement starts a two-year transition, with the state education department continuing to monitor the progress of the special education program, said William Reinhard, a spokesman for the department.

"We always knew this day would come, because we have been committed to making certain that all Maryland children receive the services to which they are entitled," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, in a statement. "MSDE's leadership and close partnership with the Baltimore City Public Schools has resulted in improved services for the system's most vulnerable students. We are pleased Judge Garbis has recognized the successes of the past five years and embraced the hard work of our teams."

The lawsuit, filed in 1984 on behalf of a student known as "Vaughn G," accused Baltimore public schools of denying essential services to special education students.

The judge allowed a round of applause at the end of the hearing, Reinhard said.

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