As a follow up to the article that ran earlier this month entitled “SC Government Schools ‘Bullying’ Disabled Children,” I would like to present you with the information that was provided to me by Richland /Lexington School District 5.
You will see the letter that was distributed to all schools within the district, the letter that Oak Pointe Elementary School sent out to their students’ parents, the legal opinion of Duff, White & Turner, L.L.C., the email correspondence that took place between the Director of Special Services for Richland /Lexington School District 5 (Marlene Metts) and myself – as well as the letter that I sent to Dr. Mitchell Zais, State Superintendent of Education.
I also sent copies of my letter to:
• Ms. Cathy Boshamer, M.Ed. Director, Exceptional Children
State Department of Education
• South Carolina Education Oversight Committee
• Washington DC (Metro)
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
• President Pro Tempore John W. Courson
Chairman, Senate Education Committee
“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
~Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life
Our elected officials must be held accountable for their failures. By threatening to punish special needs families for taking their disabled children to doctor-prescribed therapy sessions is by all accounts failing them. Many parents of children that do not struggle with such challenges often times do not understand the federal and state laws designed to protect those with disabilities. Perhaps they don’t care, because it’s doesn’t effect them.
What we have to realize is that in the long run, no matter how you slice it, this effects all of us. As a society, we have two choices: 1. Engage and help ensure all children are provided a free and appropriate public education so that are able to grow and become independent, productive, contributing members of society, or 2. Pay in the price of life long public assistance and/or incarceration.
Unfortunately, statistics are not in our favor. I will not allow my child to become a statistic! I will not sit idly by and watch families in torment over whether or not to withdraw their children from therapy or play the odds and hope that Social Services doesn’t come knocking on their door to file charges against them.
When the schools (because of poorly written and interpreted state education laws) start bullying families with disabled children and we don’t get mad about it, who knows what they’ll pull next. This opens the door to allow all sorts of unethical behavior. How far are we going to allow them to push us around? If you’re not mad about this, you’re obviously not paying attention.
SUPPORTING MATERIALS (.pdf)
Danni: This is amazing. You are a true champion for exceptional needs children in South Carolina. This state needs an army of you …