In schools across America, students with disabilities are disciplined, suspended, restrained, secluded, expelled and arrested at rates that far exceed those of students without disabilities. The rates are even higher for students of color with disabilities.
Many students with disabilities are transferred from their neighborhood schools into segregated classrooms in substandard buildings, where they get minimal therapeutic support and second-rate educational instruction. They have little or no interaction with students without disabilities. They usually cannot participate in after-school activities – no sports, no drama, no clubs.
The expectations are low.
The drop-out rates are high.
And the risk that they will end up in jail is even higher.
School should not be a pipeline to prison. With appropriate services, students with disabilities can learn and achieve in their neighborhood schools. With appropriate services, unnecessary discipline, including suspensions and expulsions, can be avoided. And with appropriate services, they can have the same academic and social opportunities to learn, advance grade to grade, and graduate with their non-disabled classmates.
CPR is working to make this happen. Through litigation, policy and advocacy, CPR is fighting to ensure that students with disabilities receive necessary services so they can attend their neighborhood schools with their peers, where learning is both the expectation and the norm.