A lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of five students at Achievement First Crown Heights, claiming that the charter school did not provide mandated services “and were punished for behavior that arose from their disabilities.”

The lawsuit charged that the students did not get physical therapy and other services for weeks, and that a student with autism “was disciplined for not looking in the direction a teacher instructed or for hiding under his desk.”

Achievement First is a “no-excuses” charter chain with schools in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Its backers include some of the wealthiest supporters of privatization. The families are also suing the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Education Department for permitting Achievement First to avoid its legal responsibilities to the children. One parent said that her autistic son, a third-grader, was sent to a second-grade classroom as punishment for his behavior. The website of the chain “describes this approach as part of Achievement First’s strict approach to discipline.” It is part of a policy called “sweating the small stuff.”

It will be interesting to see whether federal courts allow no-excuses charter schools to abrogate the rights of students with disabilities.