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Federal laws in place to protect special education students

One young boy was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, school officials told the boy's mother that this did not fit the criteria needed for special accommodations to be granted. Apparently the school officials were incorrect about this.

The boy is said to have an interest in science and a yellow belt in karate. He apparently is also an avid reader of novels. Even so, the young boy has continued to fall behind academically and has also begun having behavioral issues. As the boy is now 15-years-old, it seems that he will not be able to earn enough credits to graduate prior to his turning 20.

The state in which the young boy lives has one in 10 students facing a disability. While federal laws require providing these children with the same opportunity to graduate as other students, the majority of these young people will not graduate. During the past six years, this same state is said to have failed 15,529 children.

Inadequate teacher training is partially blamed for the problem. Failure to adequately enforce federal laws is also given as a factor. A Clarion-Ledger analysis reported that states with better qualified teachers will generally have higher graduation rates.

One attorney noted that special-education law is extremely detailed. This attorney would in particular like to see greater compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as pertains to training requirements. It is especially important to address children experiencing problems in this area at a very early age. Federal law requires that schools identify and prepare evaluations of children perceived as having disabilities.

We do not want to see the same problems arise in California as other states have faced. Schools must continually be held accountable to federal standards to make certain that special education continues to be provided for children that need assistance. The costs for not providing such education could be enormous.

Source: Clarion Ledger, "In-depth report: Special-education students failed by the state," Emily Le Coz, Feb. 2, 2014

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