School safety will be a major issue in the upcoming Congress. Even very "liberal" democrats are citing it as a major concern. Republicans have asserted that the number one issue that created the famed "gender gap" for them in the last election was (is) "school safety.” Even though there is still no real data to indicate that students with disabilities are the cause or a major factor in causing school violence, it is likely that the same unfounded charges that we fought last time around will again be with us.
All of that said, it is clear that the parent movement must unify its energy and activities if we are to have a chance to hold our own. To that end, and by popular demand, please find below a reprint of the petition that FF published earlier in the fall. We urge you to contact every person you know supportive of students with disabilities and ask them to sign this petition. Most importantly, we need to get the endorsement of as many organizations of parents as well as professionals that serve students with disabilities on this petition. As petitions are filled up, forward them to your own congressional delegation as well as the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader (see addresses below). Please also forward copies of these petitions to NPND.
We know this has been an exhausting, long and drawn out fight. We know everyone is tired and in some cases, resources are depleted. However, we also know that when our community of parents and professionals act in concert, we cannot be beaten!
The Honorable Trent Lott/US Senate/Washington DC 20510
The Honorable Newt Gingrich/US House of Representatives/ Washington DC 20515
For over four decades Rosemary Dybwad gave generously of her time and talents reaching out to help parents and practicioners eager to observe and learn from promising programs and services. She was an inspiration to all whose lives she touched. In 1963 The National Association for Retarded Children (now the Arc) sponsored the Rosemary F. Dybwad International Awards to honor her work for persons with retardation in the international field. After her death in 1992, former recipients of the Arc Awards and other friends established the Rosemary F. Dybwad International Fellowship Trust in her memory. Although the awards have not exceeded $2,500, they have assisted previous winners to travel to Australia, Iceland, Malaysia, India, Europe, Israel, Canada and wardees from other countries to come to the United States in their quest for information of practical value to theri work. These fellowships are open to applicants from all countries.
For more information and an application, contact Patricia McGill Smith at the National Parent Network on Disabilities: 703-684-6763, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We/I the undersigned, believe that more than ever before, it is essential that the educational rights of students with disabilities be protected and expanded. We/I therefore, support the following principles and urge the Congress to support them in the upcoming reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
· No school age student should ever have educational services cease.
· So called "disruptive students" should not be treated as "discipline" problems, they should be viewed as instructional challenges and solutions should be sought through the IEP process.
· Students with disabilities must have access to and utilization of all appropriate assistive technology.
· Schools should begin formalized planning for the transition to work or further education with students with disabilities at age 14 or before where appropriate.
· Parents must be mandated members of the placement team.
· Parents must receive notice of all meetings well in their native language.
· Parents must remain mandated members of the IEP team.
· Parents must have the right to bring anyone with them they feel appropriate to IEP meetings.
· School districts should be required to gain the prior approval of parents before any change in placement occurs.
· The current "stay put" concept of the IDEA should be maintained.
· Classroom teachers should receive the training and support necessary to effectively teach all of the students in their classes.
· The rights of parents to recoup legal fees must be maintained.
· The IDEA discretionary programs must be reauthorized.
· Part H early childhood services must be protected and reauthorized.
Name *** Organization (as appropriate) *** Address *** Phone/ Fax
(Feel free to copy and share)
NPND, 1727 King Street, Suite 305, Alexandria, VA 22314 — Fax 703-836-1232