Bullying the disabled is another school issue

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Karen Quick's letter of March 3 was of interest to me. She rightly expressed how bullying and taunting of students with disabilities is every bit as ugly, hurtful and repugnant as racist incidents of recent notoriety.

As a co-chair of the district's recently-formed Special Education Parent Advisory Council I would encourage Ms. Quick to contact the council's representative in her son's school about her concerns. Her son's special education teacher will have contact information.

To my mind the issue Ms. Quick wrote about is the issue that most effects the daily learning and living experience of special-needs students. The solutions to many issues in special education are dependent on forces outside the district's direct control - funding from other governmental entities is the most obvious example. But the issue of bullying and abuse of special needs students is one issue that is in the direct control of the School Board, district administrators and building administrators to either tolerate or to stop cold.

Minimizing bullying or racism is very easy. It's the will on the part of the district to respond with appropriate vigor that in the past has been absent.

My personal experience has not been encouraging: that stopping such abuse and bullying has not in the past been a board or district priority. But I am willing to volunteer some time to address this issue, and other issues in special education, and see what comes of it. So I encourage Ms. Quick, and the parents of all district special-needs students, to at least relate your experiences in this area with your school's council representative. It is possible such actions could result in a positive change in their child's daily experience.

Donald R. Douglas

Juneau



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