Disability and Education

  1. The Woodland Hills High School-to-Prison Pipeline

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    Image of a group of protestors outside of a school building holding signs to show solidarity to the injustice committed to a disabled student.

    The intersection of race and disability is often ignored when we discuss the injustices that disadvantage disabled students of color within our schools.  This oversight can mean grave consequences to students who live within these margins.  The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately impacts disabled students of color (especially Black disabled students), yet very few are addressing what occurs in our schools; a recent incident in Pittsburgh caught my attention as being yet another example of how we are failing to advocate for and protect Black disabled students.  

    On Twitter, disability rights advocate Dustin Gibson shared details about a Black disabled student at Woodland Hills High being victimized and dehumanized by his principal.  Dustin is a revolutionary in training in Pittsburgh that has centered his identity as a Black man with bipolar disorder in his work.  He builds with people impacted by systems both locally and nationally.  Organizing with the perspective that the people closest to the impact are closest to the solution, many of his efforts are grassroot.  

    I asked Dustin if he would tell the story of the Woodland Hills incident, the connections between racism and ableism, and why Black disabled lives matter.  Here are his words:  

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  1. Review of the WrightsLaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Workshop I Attended

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    Earlier this month, I attended an one-day workshop pertaining to Special Education Law and Advocacy in West Columbia, SC.  Being that I am a disability rights consultant who is determined to assist disabled students and their families when it comes to obtaining the accommodations and resources they are entitled to, as well as the fact that I want to become a disability rights/civil rights lawyer, I believed it to be imperative that I attend such an event.  I was not sure what to expect from the workshop, but I left with a burning desire to teach myself about this area, and to empower and support individuals affected.

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  1. Disabled Educators Making the News: Jamey Bryce Named Teacher of the Year

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    As the academic year winds down, announcements of the coveted Teacher of the Year award are being shared across the nation.  It was brought to my attention that a second grade teacher from Sioux City, Iowa received this recognition, and his story was one that I had to share on the blog.

    Story

    Jamey Bryce – Leeds Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year

    Mr. Jamey Bryce is a second grade teacher at Leeds Elementary School, and his ardent commitment to his students won him the prestigious nomination for Teacher of Year by his colleagues.  In this video, we see Mr. Bryce’s surprised reaction to hearing his name called during the assembly for the honor.  Mr. Bryce humbly accepted the distinction, and his comments demonstrated why his dedication as an educator is respected:

    “I just come in and I do my job.  But it’s an extreme honor, so thank you.  And I know we have wonderful teachers here in the Sioux City District and I’m honored to be one.”

    Excerpt from Leeds Teacher Honored With Surprise “Teacher of the Year”

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  1. HUD Charges University with Discrimination in Failure to Allow Disabled College Student to House Support Dog

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    Image of a small dog wearing a harness with a tag called "emotional support dog."

    A new school year means that disabled college students are adjusting to their new environments, and are making accommodation requests to their school’s disability services department that will allow a smoother transition.  Accommodations can range from needing note-taking assistance, placement in a quieter environment to take tests, and/or being able to use service/support animals on campus.  Such accommodations are protected under several federal mandates, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other pieces of legislation that outlaws discriminatory practices based on disability status(es).

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  1. Interacting with Disabled Students on College Campuses: Disability Etiquette & Words of Wisdom

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    Woman in wheelchair attending group meeting

    Earlier this month, I wrote about my college experience as a disabled student at my alma mater, Winthrop University.  That article received great responses from those within my networks; one particular response came from a former professor suggesting that I write a follow-up article for classmates and professors.  She stated that such an article would be helpful to those who are interacting with disabled students for the first time, which I highly agreed with.

    Online, I have seen several blog postings about academic ableism from current or former college students who experienced ablesim (which is discrimination against those with disabilities) during their collegiate years.  Though I am fortunate to have not had firsthand experience of this matter, I am well aware that such prejudices and misconceptions about students with disabilities exist on our campuses.  Such incidences does not just affect that disabled student’s self-esteem about their status, but it can also be detrimental to their educational success.  No one should feel ostracized or demeaned by their peers or professors due to being disabled; this is a form of injustice that cannot be ignored or accepted in or outside the classroom.

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  1. Reflection of My College Experience as a Disabled Student

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    College Bound 1

    As students of all ages begin preparing to go back to school, I decided to reflect on my college experience as a disabled student.  August of 2004 was when I became a freshman at Winthrop University, my alma mater.  It amazes me that it was exactly 10 years ago that I set wheels on that campus, and the memories I had of those 4 years I will proudly carry with me forever.

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  1. Bullying of Students with Disabilities: An Epidemic in Our Schools

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    Bullying 2

    Though the 2013-2014 school year is ending for the summer, the bullying of students with disabilities epidemic has made headline news this academic term.  A recent headlining story took place late May in Richmond, California, where a father boarded a school bus, and attacked the student who allegedly bullied his 9-year-old son, who has autism.  Burris Hurd was charged with child abuse and corporal injury to a child, and was held in jail on a $50,000 bond.

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