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It’s all about Buildings – not Education!

01/18/10
by Wrightslaw

The Board of Directors of our public schools is being urged to adopt a plan that would segregate all elementary school children with physical disabilities into one of the district’s five elementary schools. Is this illegal?

The board member proposing this said “It’s not about education.  It’s about buildings.”  He promotes neighborhood schools close to home for non-disabled children, while forcing all children with disabilities into one school.

That’s crazy and, yes, it is illegal.

The law requires schools to educate children with disabilities, including physical disabilities, in regular education classes with children who are not disabled “to the maximum extent possible.” A child may not be removed from regular education classes unless the nature or severity of the disability does not allow her to be educated in regular classes, even with supplementary aids and services.  20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5); 34 C.F.R § 300.314 – 300.317.

A child’s placement must be:
• Based on the child’s unique needs as documented in the IEP
• Determined at least once a year
• As close to the child’s home as possible so the child can be educated in the school he would attend if he was not disabled

A child’s placement may not be based on:
• Your child’s disability category or label or severity of the disability (i.e., children with autism are placed in a class with other children with autism)
• The school’s service delivery model (i.e., all children with learning disabilities receive “pull” or resource services)
• The availability of special education and related services, staff location, or school district convenience. Commentary in 71 Federal Register at 46588.

The School Board member proposing this needs to learn what the law says about educating children in the least restrictive environment. This has been the law since 1975.

Collaboration Counts

You need to get a little group of concerned people together. It doesn’t take many people to create change.

Please read One Person is a Fruitcake – I think you will see what we mean:
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.fruitcake.power.htm

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike 01/20/10 at 11:25 am

    I would wonder if that school board is proposing different programs rather than segregating those students.

    For instance, in my district we have a program that focuses on functional life skills being taught heavily. The classrooms in the program have additional classroom aides and supports, small class size, and mixed grade levels. Due to the setup many kiddos eligible under cognitive disability (my state’s term for Mental Retardation) get placed there. However, their placement is not based on the eligibility but rather on their needs (functional and academic), which should be clear through the IEP.

    Programs such as these open more LRE options to consider, which can be greatly beneficial to the child. Naturally, any school district has to again be careful that an eligibility alone does not guarantee a certain placement.

  • 2 David1 01/19/10 at 7:11 pm

    How many buildings could they build if they focus on using Education funds for Education?

    My son’s public school worked really hard to have my son focus on being certificate track.

    This would almost guarantee a life, restricted by disability wages and living by his parents rules as an adult.

    Did I mention that he will graduate ranked #9 in a graduating class of 424?

    My son is well on his way to college, independent living, and being a tax payer. Money that public schools can use to build buildings that educate kids like him.

    Not to mention, he will be donating his bedroom to mom and dad to convert into an office or entertainment room.

    Now that’s office space to get excited about…….