Kandise Lucas, a Parent and Disability Advocate, Says Parents Must Be Heard
Kandise Lucas has dedicated the last 14 years of her life to getting schools in Henrico and Chesterfield to treat parents of special needs children more fairly. She’s used emails, public events and social media to address school division leaders and state lawmakers directly.
Defendants maintain that Lucas did not exhaust her administrative remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to filing this lawsuit, thus disbarring it of subject matter jurisdiction over Counts 1 and 4. Furthermore, qualified immunity prevents Lucas’s claims being heard before this Court.
Early Life and Education
Kandise Lucas is a disability advocate and parent who has spent years campaigning on behalf of special education students. Although her efforts have led to lawsuits and arrests, she remains determined in her beliefs that parents need to be heard.
Lucas began her public advocacy work by using emails, social media posts and other outreach methods to contact school division leaders, legislators and governors in an effort to address what she saw as discriminatory practices in schools that serve disabled children, particularly black ones.
Lucas provided support from several former employees and educators and paraprofessionals at BREC who corroborated her allegations via sworn affidavits and depositions, yet Judge Hauler refused to allow this evidence in its second libel lawsuit against Lucas.
Kandise Lucas of Henrico County has used email and public events for more than a decade to fight for the rights of special needs children in Virginia schools, particularly minority students’ educational needs. Her crusade has often met resistance from those in power such as school division leaders, elected officials and the state board of education.
In 2003, she sent an email complaint to the state Department of Education; however, Carolyn Hodgkins, its compliance director, summarily disregarded Lucas’ allegations just one month later when sent them directly to Warren G. Bull – executive director of Specialized Youth Services of Virginia Inc – the owner and operator of BREC. Specialized Youth Services then sued Lucas seeking damages totalling 1.1 Million Dollars; an agreement was eventually reached and she agreed to settle with them in October that year.