Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Guest Opinion: A Will and a Way

Post by Tom Everill is President & CEO of Northwest Center. 

 MARYSVILLE, WA. -- Lately I have been meeting more and more families who are fighting a civil rights war that one might have thought had been won decisively four decades ago.
It was in 1971 that a group of bold and innovative parents fighting rejection of their children by public schools in Seattle pushed HB 90, the Education for All Act, through the Washington State Legislature. This pivotal legislation requires all public schools in the state to provide equal educational opportunity to all children regardless of ability. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, modeled after Washington State’s, became a federal law in 1975.
Yet here is Deanna sitting in my office just a few weeks ago telling me the story of her son Dylan, a bright young man with Down syndrome and assorted other challenges, who was placed in isolation — essentially solitary confinement — by middle school administrators who misunderstood Dylan’s unique learning style and behaviors.

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