A blind former Wilson High School student, Carlos Lopez, is suing Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), seeking unspecified damages, alleging he wasn’t given the same opportunities as other students in that he was not provided proper materials to place him on an equal learning curve with said students.
Lopez, 19, now attends Cal State Long Beach (CSULB). He filed suit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging civil rights violations and seeking unspecified damages for the time spent at Wilson High School, from 2011-15.
“This type of treatment by Long Beach Unified School District made Mr. Lopez feel like a second-class citizen,” states the lawsuit.
The LBUSD did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication, as the district’s offices are closed until January 4.
Lopez’ lawsuit alleges the school district acknowledged Lopez should have been given learning materials in an electronic format or in braille, as Lopez requested.
“However, the district failed to provide these accommodations in a timely and complete fashion and, in some instances, failed to provide them at all,” the suit states.
Lopez then suffered anxiety and depression and struggled to keep up with his fellow students, as a result of the lack of learning materials, the suit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, Lopez’ parents were forced to dictate pages of assigned homework to him as the braille textbook as he waited for his braille textbooks to arrive each semester of his freshman year. The suit alleges it took weeks and even months for the textbooks to reach Lopez. Other allegations include Lopez having to take biology quizzes orally, as only final exams were offered in braille, Lopez taking algebra exams after school his sophomore year because the braille materials weren’t provided in a timely manner and that Lopez didn’t receive his health textbook in braille for his health class at all.
Lopez alleges he was constantly discriminated against, and filed a claim against the LBUSD in April. The district accepted his claim, but only for events occurring after April 2014, a year before the claim was filed.