In June a court ordered Chicago Public Schools to provide Christopher Cruz a private placement for the coming school year, but September came and went with Cruz biding his time at home instead.

When the Chicago Tribune got involved, however, it took the school district just half a day to sort things out. But Cruz’s case illustrates the great lengths parents must go to secure appropriate special education services for their children, advocates say.

In Cruz’s case, it took two years of advocacy, a lawyer, a court order and ultimately a newspaper reporter to get the boy, 13, who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorder, the services he needs.

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Advocates say the situation is emblematic of a broken system whereby school districts prefer litigation over solutions. Admittedly, Cruz’s school district says they should have placed him sooner so that he could start the school year on time.

This week, Cruz started at a local private school and his mother says she’s already seen a change. For the first time in a long time, Cruz came out of school with a smile on his face, reports the Chicago Tribune. To read more click here.