Monday, March 8, 2010

How Widespread is Discrimination Against Kids on the Basis of Disability?

Bloody Sunday (1965) - Alabama officers await ...Image via Wikipedia

I understand that Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education is going to announce today that the Office of Civil Rights in his Department is about to step up the heat in diminishing discrimination in the schools. At the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, the scene of one of the bloodiest battled in the Civil Rights Movement, Duncan was set to announce that OCR will intensify its efforts to bring enforcement actions against discrimination in schools based on race, gender and disability. Here is a news account from the New York Times. According to the Washington Post, Duncan has been vocal in criticizing OCR under the previous administration for being lax in such enforcement actions.

In terms of kids with disabilities- what do you think? How widespread is discrimination? Has OCR been somewhat lax in enforcing the law prohibiting discrimination against children with disabilities?

There has been a lot in the news lately concerning the misuse of seclusion and restraints, especially the incidents involving children with disabilities that led to the pending legislation. There has also been a lot of cases in the last few years involving bullying and harassment of school kids, including kids with disabilities. I believe that we are seeing the beginning of a merging of what I had previously felt were two hot button issues.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. My son was not allowed access to vocational education for years because of the vo-tech school's policy that you are excluded when you are in due process.

    Once proceedings were over, the vo-tech would not give him their application to begin the admissions process because they would not modify their senior policy [even though he was just 16 when he tried to gain access/tried to apply].

    He became a disabled adult last May at 19 years old, not having the skills for the local workforce.

    The Fed. Ct. dismissed his case, he is in the Fed Ct. of Appeals in Philly, by himself and badly needs an attorney but cannot afford or find one.

  2. Anon,

    Thank you for your story.