As a teacher who has worked with students with disabilities, one of the most troubling issues has been the crimes that are committed against these students. I mean crimes in the sense of negligent building codes, non-certified aides, legal accommodations. These are, of course, in addition to the physical and verbal abuse from their peers. While reading an article about one school that goes above and beyond the requirements of the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA), I was reminded of these violations in my teaching experiences in Washington, D.C. In this article, http://www.edutopia.org/sampler-designs-teaching-and-learning, a school felt that the ADA requirement of one elevator in every section of a building was not enough, so they added two. In addition, the school lowered the window in the control room of the theatre so students in wheel-chairs could participate in this aspect of theatre production. Also, the school added both left and right handed handles on bathroom doors so students with only one working side of their body could open any door. The point here is that we as teachers have to be advocates for our physically disabled students. I am including a link to the ADA home page as well as a link to the Office of Civil Rights Complaint Resolution Procedures, and a blank complaint form so that teachers here can be more knowledgeable about the rights of students with disabilities. More than just knowing the rights, however, we as teachers must also be advocates for our disabled students. This is a very complex and complicated legal policy, but one that is vital for the success of our disabled students.
American's With Disabilities Act: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm
Office of Civil Rights Complaint Resolution Procedures: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaints-how.html
Office of Civil Rights Complaint Form: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html
Submitted by Jeffrey Tomlinson