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The Rehabilitation act of 1973 provides certain education remedies for students with disabilities. Special needs children are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education, just the like the rest of our nations children, but once a child’s disability is identified, the educator has a duty to implement appropriate intervention strategies and determine whether the student should remain in a regular education curriculum or if the child would benefit from a 504 plan requiring reasonable accommodations, or a more specialized Individualized Education Plan (IEP) plan.

The Compton California School District has come under fire for failing to conduct an evaluation of teenage girl who entered high school at a fourth grade level.

By 10th grade, the student, Starvenia Addison, was handing in work that teachers called “gibberish” and incomprehensible” played with dolls in class, urinated in her pants, and failed every subject. The schools’ reaction to this behavior: Promoting her to the 11th grade. I guess Compton is taking “No Child Left Behind” seriously.

Charges were brought on Addison’s behalf and the District court did find that the school district violated its responsibility under the Child find provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) when they did not conduct the counselor recommended evaluation. “the School District seeks to cast its deliberate indifference as something other than a ‘refusal.’

The fate of this case now rests within the hands of the Supreme Court. Whatever the decision, the entire educational community needs to step up in recognizing potential disabilities and evaluating children for such disabilities, and make the proper accommodations so that each child receives his or her free and appropriate education.

While IDEA procedural safeguards do prevent parents from being a part of the general education intervention team, parents may, instead of waiting for the school to question the child’s abilities, submit a request to have their child evaluated. Unfortunately, Addison’s parents did not make this request. Parents and teachers alike have a responsibility to the child’s well-being. Sometimes a little extra nudge is needed from one or both sides as their attention and commitment to the child’s education can make or break the student’s future.

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