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Schools to Provide Proper Services for Disabled Students

The US Supreme Court ruled this week that all schools that provide higher education for children with special needs must provide then with an appropriate opportunity that is in line with the federal education law. Just providing minimal education alone is not sufficient.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John G Roberts wrote that providing the bare minimal education year after year was not helping these disabled students and that it was tantamount to doing nothing. In the past as well, schools have made no effort to educate disabled children and just waited for them to drop out.

At present there are nearly 6.4 million disabled students between ages 3-21 in the USA, which represents 13% of the total student population. Every year, nearly 300,000 of the disabled students prematurely leave school because they are not learning anything of significance. To date, only 65% of disabled students go on to complete high school.

For the most parts, schools have been a major disaster for disabled students. Education experts welcomed the US Supreme Court decision because they believe that every student needs proper access to education. Disabled students do have potential and schools should make an effort to bring out the best in each student.

The US Supreme Court decision originated after an autistic child (Endrew) in Colorado was pulled out of Douglas County School District in 5th grade after the parents were perturbed about the individualized education plan. Under the federal ‘Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,’ all schools must work with families to develop individualized learning plans for disabled students.

While Endrew did make progress, his school never bothered to change the learning plan and stuck to the same past goals. The parents withdrew their child and placed him in a private school where he made social and academic progress. The parents then asked to be reimbursed for the tuition and filed a complaint against the Colorado Department of Education where they argued that Endrew had been denied free and appropriate public education.

Initially the local judge and US Court of Appeals for the 10th circuit sided with the school. But the parents appealed the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court did side with the parents of the autistic child stating that schools have to do more than just offer a desk and chair to a disabled child. The onus is on the schools to make sure that the learning is appropriate and progressive.