|Handicap sign (Photo credit: MattGrommes)|
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Discipline of Children With Disabilities: More Fun With Numbers
According to a series of reports by UCLA's Civil Rights Project, there may be some serious issues pertaining to the discipline of children with disabilities. For example, about one in five secondary school students with disabilities was suspended, more than three times the rate for students without disabilities. Also 36% of all African-American students with disabilities were suspended at least once. The information was compiled from the 2009-2010 school year Civil Rights Data Collection by the DOE's Office of Civil Rights.
Our friends at the Council for Exceptional Children pointed out this problem, and they have called for changes in the way that the CRDC collects data.
IDEA imposes special rules regarding discipline of students with disabilities. The reason why disciplinary actions are regulated by the special education law is that before passage of the law's predecessor, it was common for school officials to exclude children with disabilities by expelling them and giving them long suspensions. This series of abuses was reflected in the legislative history of the law, and it is discussed in detail in the seminal Rowley decision. We have discussed this matter in more detail in our previous series on Special Ed Law 101.