Disabilty and Civil Rights: Standing On the Right Side of History
Good morning, my name is Tonya Whitlock. I have four children currently in the
Hillsborough County School District.
I am here because I am very, very concerned with the decisions that are being made for our students in the ESE population and and I feel it’s very important
that the parents who are actually within the system and have children who are dealing in the system speak out about the current things that are going on.
I’m going to kind of start with going over some laws that I’m very sure that most of you here know, but because of the recent changes to ESE and busing children from their neighborhood schools and the segregation children of in this school district I felt like it was pertinent to kind of give us all a refresher of some of these laws.
again I’m sure that we’re all familiar with it.
this is my son Tres and he’s going to be talking to you in a minute.
I’m so grateful that Tres’ was allowed inclusion in the states that he lived in
through his elementary years. I can’t imagine at five years old stifling him into a classroom and saying that I’m going to, that I don’t believe in your potential, that I don’t believe in your growth. And basically when your placing a child in an ESE placement that’s what you’re saying, because we all know that the standards are drastically different in an ESE setting than they are in a typical classroom setting .
He was on the honor roll, he loved being be part of his community and the kids that were in his classes. But the amazing thing was it wasn’t about just Tres. His teachers every year would tell me, the students are amazing with Tres. He’s making an impact on them. He made an impact on them. He made an impact on them as much as they made an impact on Tres.
to confine you and we’re not going to allow you to grow.
later as we all know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
IDEA. It states that children with disabilities must be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment, and I know that that phrase has become very subjective with many people, but if you go on to read it states that children with disabilities need to the maximum extent, ok , and to the maximum extent, be educated with children who are not disabled. This placement must be as close as possible to the child’s home and in the school that he or she would attend if non-disabled. I’d really likes to stop and ask the School Board, are you really actually telling us that you are trying to educate our children and follow these guidelines to the maximum extent possible?
We’re placing them in classrooms where their standard of education
is the same across the board.