Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don't Call People Stupid

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I'm always looking for other resources about kids with disabilities.  Recently, my daughter told me about a blogger named Angie Jackson.  The following is a quote from one of her blog posts that I believe our readers might be interested in; NOTE these are not my words but they are quoted with permission from the author:


The Word “Stupid” and Why You Shouldn’t Use It


The word “stupid” exists to justify discounting and disenfranchising individuals and groups. The idea behind it is “Some people are inherently inferior, so I don’t have to treat them with basic human respect.” The supposed mental inferiority of women, black people, people with disabilities ranging from cognitive to physical to emotional, fat people, and convicts has always been a primary argument and justification for their mistreatment.
Now, I know people are going to object to this. They’re very attached to their “right” to use the word stupid without critique. They will defend their use of the word and what they “really mean” when they say it. But if what you really mean is “willfully ignorant”, then say “willfully ignorant.” If what you really mean is “what you say is hateful and hurts people”, then say “what you say is hurtful and hurts people.” If you mean “that makes no sense”, say “that makes no sense.” If you mean “that’s factually incorrect”, say “that’s factually incorrect.” “Stupid” is not a precise label. The reason you want to use it is the exact reason you shouldn’t: Because it has power. And that very real power has been used to hurt very real people.
The concept of stupidity was used to justify keeping the right to vote from black men and women and from all women. Around the world disabled people are denied the right to vote, based on their presumed mental incompetence. The idea that cis women and trans men are too inherently “stupid” to make their own reproductive choices in regards to birth control and abortion is alive and well today. The idea that cognitively impaired adults are “stupid” and therefore worth less helps enable the subminimum wages paid to those same adults.
Calling someone “stupid” is no better or different from calling someone “crazy.” It has the capacity to do tremendous splash damage and it is not a word devoid of baggage. The word and the concept behind the word are both ableist and they have both been used to subjugate real horrors on real people. Horrors like institutionalization and incarceration,forced sterilizationpolitical disenfranchisementjob discriminationwage discrimination, and higher rates of bullying victimization.
“Stupid” people, whether that means people with a low IQ, women, fat people, racial minorities, or people who couldn’t afford to go to college in this economic reality, are more likely to be unemployed or under employed, more likely to be politically disenfranchised – yes, here in the US too – and are more likely to be bullied.
... “Stupid” has been used as a weapon and as a tool of oppression long enough. Let it go.

#stupid, #AngieJackson, #abelism, #name-calling, #specialedlaw, #gerl, #law

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Weekly Question!

We are continuing our series on bullying of kids with disabilities. What else should school districts do to prevent the serious problem of bullying?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Breaking: New Guidance from OCR on Bullying

Seal of the United States Department of Education
Seal of the United States Department of Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

























The Office for Civil Rights of the U. S. Department of Education issued new guidance yesterday concerning bullying of students with disabilities.

The newest information in this guidance involves its interpretation that the bullying of children with disabilities on any basis can be a denial of FAPE for §504 purposes.  In other words if a child with a disability is bullied, it may be a denial of FAPE even if it is not based upon disability.

You can review the new guidance here. Here is more discussion by the Department of Education.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Odds & Ends; Tech Update

Nederlands: Linked In icon
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Your reaction to my 2012-2013 caselaw outline has been overwhelming.  Thank you.  One question that many of you have asked concerns the purchase price.  The price of the outline is $295.00 and I have made arrangements to receive payments PayPal (which includes a credit card option). The 259 page outline is available as a .pdf file and it is searchable (at least on my computer.) If you would like more information about this very cool research tool please email me at jimgerl@gmail.com.

Other stuff: One of the great things about doing this blog is that I get to meet some great people.  One is Professor Mark Weber who teaches at DePaul Law School and who is one of the real thinkers in special education law.  Mark recently sent me copies of his last two published law review articles both of which were mentioned in this blog. The final version of his article defending IDEA due process hearings includes an acknowledgement of me for contributing my ideas to the article. The acknowledgement is most generous especially in view of the very limited feedback that I gave to him. Thanks Mark.

In tech news: Occasionally people ask me what is the best way to read the blog?  Well the answer is which ever way is best for you.  I recommend that you take a free subscription on the lefthand side of the blog. You can subscribe by email or have the posts appear via RSS feed in a reader or aggregator. Other folks follow our posts on Facebook or read the headlines via Twitter.  Some follow our microblog on Tumblr. Some people just bookmark or follow this blog directly. Others read the posts on LinkedIn. You should also check out our Special Education Law Group on LinkedIn which now has over 16,000 members.  Lots of good discussions and activities.  Links to all of these things are available on the lefthand side of the blog.

Also available on the lefthand side of the blog are all sorts of useful resources.  There are YouTube videos of me being interviewed by CADRE.  There are links to the law and regulations, an information clearing house, CADRE, our LinkedIn group and many other sites that special ed stakeholders may find useful. Please check it out and let me know what you think. There is a wealth of goos information there.

If you know of other resources that you'd like to see mentioned here, please let me know.  We do not promote websites that favor one side or the other; we are impartial here!  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekly Question!

Bullying remains the hot button issue in special education law, and many people feel that it reflects a larger and ugly societal problem. Have you had any experiences with kids with disabilities being the victim of bullying?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bullying of Kids With Disabilities - Part V

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Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law.  In the first installment, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA.  In later installments, I have discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011).  This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do so here.  (NOTE: What follows is a discussion of TK I.  Please note that we have subsequently done a post on the District Court's decision on the appeal of the SRO decision after the court's remand, or TK II. You can read that post hereTK I remains good law.)  




Here is more from the court...these are not my words:

With changes in technology, the Internet has become the venue where widespread hurtful bullying is inflicted by and on young people. See Jan Hoffman, As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-up, N.Y. Times, Dec. 5, 2010, at A1 (examining the widespread nature of bullying on the Internet and difficulties schools have in stopping it); Schwartz, supra (discussing the suicides of three teens as a result of online bullying).
The Internet has become a fertile area for bullying behavior. Cyber-bullying is defined as "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computer, cell phones and other electronic devices." Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin, Overview of Cyberbullying, in White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, at 21 (March 10, 2011), available at http:// www.stopbullying.gov/ references/white_house_conference/index.html. About 20 percent of eleven to eighteen year-olds
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 300 ]

have been cyberbullied at some point in their lives. Id.
Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying in several ways. First, a cyberbully can attack anonymously. Id. at 22. Second, the bullying can go viral, with many people harassing the same target at once. Id. Third, the bully does not see the emotional toll his bullying creates, allowing the culprit to push further than he or she might in a face-to-face relationship where the adverse effects are clearly perceived. Id. at 23. Fourth, many parents and teachers do not have the technological know-how to monitor these actions. Id.

b. Increased State Efforts to Address Bullying

Legislatures across the country have been taking note of the problem in schools. In recent years, forty-five states have passed laws dealing with bullying and harassment in schools. Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Education Bullying Law and Policy Memo, Dec. 16, 2010, available athttp://www2.ed. gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/101215.html. In September 2010, New York's Dignity for Students Act was enacted; it goes into effect in July 2012. See New York Education Law, §§ 10-17 (2010) (protects students against discrimination on the basis of race, color, nation of origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender). See also, New York Civil Liberties Union,The Dignity For All Students Act (2010), available at http://www. nyclu.org/files/publications/OnePager_DASA.pdf. The Act requires incidents of bullying to be reported to the state Department of Education on at least an annual basis and the development of appropriate codes of conduct. Id. at § 12. ("No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function."); Id. at § 13 ("The board of education and the trustees or sole trustee of every school district shall create policies and guidelines that shall include, but not be limited to . . . [p]olicies intended to create a school environment that is free from discrimination or harassment. . . ."); Id. at § 15 ("The commissioner shall create a procedure under which material incidents of discrimination and harassment on school grounds or at a school function are reported to the department at least on an annual basis. . . ."). See also, Erin Cargile, Lawmakers Move Education Bill Forward, Austin News, April 14, 2011, available at http://www. kxan.com/dpp /news/texas_lege/Lawmakers-move-bullying-bill-forward.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekly Question!

Bullying remains the hot button issue in special education law, and many people feel that it reflects a larger and ugly societal problem. Have you had any experiences with kids with disabilities being the victim of bullying?