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Are disabled kids being treated unfairly in school discipline?

Children with disabilities can have a variety of different special needs. For one, they can have special care needs. Such care needs can be quite expensive, which can pose challenges for families, particularly those that don't have much in the way of income or assets. The Supplemental Security Income program is one program a low-income family with a disabled child may be able to turn to for help in meeting such costs.

Another thing that disabled children sometimes have are special needs regarding education. One hopes that all schools here in the U.S. which have disabled children among their student body do everything they can to ensure that these needs are met for such students and that such students are treated in a fair way that ensures that their right to equal access to education is respected.

Unfortunately, some recent statistics indicate that American schools may be falling short when it comes to this goal. Specifically, the report raises some serious questions regarding whether disabled students are being treated fairly when it comes to school disciplinary measures.

The statistics are from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. According to the statistics, one-quarter of the U.S. students that schools arrest and refer to authorities, 58 percent of the U.S. students schools place in involuntary confinement or seclusion and three-fourths of the U.S. students that schools psychically restrain are students with disabilities. Given that around 12 percent of U.S. students are children with disabilities, the statistics indicate that disabled students are being disproportionately subjected to such harsh disciplinary measures.

The statistics also indicated that disabled students have about double the likelihood of being put on out-of-school suspension compared to non-disabled students.

Major questions are raised by these statistics. What is behind these disciplinary disparities? What effects are these disparities having on the ability for disabled students to receive a good education? What should be done to remedy the disparities?

Source: Disability Scoop, "Harsh Discipline More Common For Students With Disabilities," Michelle Diament, March 21, 2014

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