In 2004, a 13-year-old boy committed suicide after being sent to an 8-by-8 concrete-block time-out room in a Gainesville public school for students with behavioral problems.
The case is an extreme example of how some special education students have been mistreated. But it forces parents, teachers, school leaders and lawmakers to question how Georgia teaches children with disabilities.
The school in Gainesville is a special facility for students with such severe disabilities they can’t control their behavior and are unable to attend traditional schools.
Many special education students are taught in traditional classrooms where their classmates are kids without disabilities.
I’ve heard from parents who say their children are not treated well in any setting. Some say their children don’t receive the services promised under the IEP. Others say the classroom teacher doesn’t have the training to help a child with disabilities.
At the same time, I’ve heard from parents who praise their child’s teachers and the attention they get.
More and more parents have turned to private schools focused on a specific disability. While many of these private schools exist in the metro Atlanta area they are harder to find elsewhere in the state.
What successes and failures have you seen in the way public schools teach students with disabilities? Is there a teacher, school or district doing a good job that others should follow?