Feds: Provide students with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in after-school athletics and clubs

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says students with disabilities are often denied the chance to participate in sports.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says students with disabilities are often denied the chance to participate in sports.

The U.S. Department of Education sent out one of its clarifying “Dear Colleague” letters today, this one explaining school districts’ legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities to students with disabilities.

According to US DOE:

Students with disabilities have the right, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, to an equal opportunity to participate in their schools’ extracurricular activities. A 2010 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that many students with disabilities are not afforded an equal opportunity to participate in athletics, and therefore may not have equitable access to the health and social benefits of athletic participation.

“Sports can provide invaluable lessons in discipline, selflessness, passion and courage, and this guidance will help schools ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to benefit from the life lessons they can learn on the playing field or on the court,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The guidance letter provides examples of the types of reasonable modifications that schools may be required to make to existing policies, practices, or procedures for students with intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other type of disability. Examples of such modifications include:

  • The allowance of a visual cue alongside a starter pistol to allow a student with a hearing impairment who is fast enough to qualify for the track team the opportunity to compete.
  • The waiver of a rule requiring the “two-hand touch” finish in swim events so that a one-armed swimmer with the requisite ability can participate at swim meets.

The guidance also notes that the law does not require that a student with a disability be allowed to participate in any selective or competitive program offered by a school district, so long as the selection or competition criteria are not discriminatory.

“Participation in extracurricular athletics can be a critical part of a student’s overall educational experience, said Seth Galanter, acting assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). “Schools must ensure equal access to that rewarding experience for students with disabilities.”

In additional U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan devoted his blog to the issue today, writing in part:

Playing sports at any level—club, intramural, or interscholastic—can be a key part of the school experience and have an immense and lasting impact on a student’s life. Among its many benefits, participation in extracurricular athletic activities promotes socialization, the development of leadership skills, focus, and, of course, physical fitness. It’s no secret that sports helped to shape my life. From a very early age, playing basketball taught me valuable lessons about grit, discipline, and teamwork that are still with me to this day.

Students with disabilities are no different – like their peers without disabilities, these students benefit from participating in sports. But unfortunately, we know that students with disabilities are all too often denied the chance to participate and with it, the respect that comes with inclusion. This is simply wrong. While it’s the coach’s job to pick the best team, students with disabilities must be judged based on their individual abilities, and not excluded because of generalizations, assumptions, prejudices, or stereotypes. Knowledgeable adults create the possibilities of participation among children and youth both with and without disabilities.

Today, ED’s Office for Civil Rights has released guidance that clarifies existing legal obligations of schools to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate alongside their peers in after-school athletics and clubs. We make clear that schools may not exclude students who have an intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other disability from trying out and playing on a team, if they are otherwise qualified. This guidance builds on a resource document the Department issued in 2011 that provides important information on improving opportunities for children and youth with disabilities to access PE and athletics.

Federal civil rights laws require schools to provide equal opportunities, not give anyone an unfair head start. So schools don’t have to change the essential rules of the game, and they don’t have to do anything that would provide a student with a disability an unfair competitive advantage. But they do need to make reasonable modifications (such as using a laser instead of a starter pistol to start a race so a deaf runner can compete) to ensure that students with disabilities get the very same opportunity to play as everyone else. The guidance issued today will help schools meet this obligation and will allow increasing numbers of kids with disabilities the chance to benefit from playing sports.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

94 comments Add your comment

HS Teacher

January 25th, 2013
1:28 pm

Why not? Let the kids play.

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2013
1:39 pm

oh, this is beyond stupid. its bad enough we bog down classrooms with mainstreaming, we gotta do it with the swim team, too?

why not blind people on the archery team?
mutes on the debate team?
semi functional morons on the academic teams?

Arne is full of crap. as a former runner, part of the thing IS hearing and reacting to the pistol.
and one armed swimmers? in competition?

Obama’s nanny state coming to a pool near you.

way not hobble the skinny fast kids to make sure the fat ones can keep up in track?
or require every basketball team have at least 2 short white kids on the floor at all times

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2013
1:41 pm

somebody needs to explain to that idiot Duncan exactly what a disability is.

we are graduating functionally illiterate kids, issues like the Beverly Hall fiasco are way to common, and THIS crap is what he’s worrying about?

mystery poster

January 25th, 2013
1:45 pm

I don’t think that the modifications suggested are out of the question. No one is saying that someone who is not eligible or who otherwise wouldn’t have made the team would be waived in.

If a one-armed swimmer can quality for the team, why not waive the “two-handed touch” requirement?

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2013
1:48 pm

“Students with disabilities are no different”

Arne you idiot, they ARE.

“While it’s the coach’s job to pick the best team, students with disabilities must be judged based on their individual abilities”

how many one armed swimmers are out there who will improve the swim team? and if you find one, the coach will move heaven and earth to get him in the water.

“It’s no secret that sports helped to shape my life”

not well enough, it seems. must be harboring a grudge for all the bench time

“if they are otherwise qualified”

they aren’t you idiot. one legged runners without a modified runners leg AREN’T. a pitcher with no hands ins not.

“not give anyone an unfair head start. So schools don’t have to change the essential rules of the game, and they don’t have to do anything that would provide a student with a disability an unfair competitive advantage”

bald faced lie.

mystery poster

January 25th, 2013
1:51 pm

*oops, qualify

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2013
1:54 pm

kids in wheelchairs playing soccer. lets do it.
kids with a fear of ice on the hockey team. why not?
quadrapalagics on the wrestling team sounds good.
morbidly obese girls on competition cheer leading. toss her high, kids.

Citizen Shlep

January 25th, 2013
1:56 pm

Dear Feds,

Without your guiding regulatory insights, I might just eat my own p.oo, not knowing any better, like the food pyramid informing me I should load up on carbs so I can get diabetes so the unelected bureaucrats make me fully dependent on the Statist Teet.

the prof

January 25th, 2013
1:57 pm

BF, are you really this big of an idiot. I am a parent of a severely disabled child who no longer attends school (because she is dying, yes dying). Even when she was in school, I had no, let me make that NO, expectations that she either be mainstreamed OR put on any sports team.

Dee Thompson

January 25th, 2013
1:58 pm

My son’s right hand was amputated when he was 5, due to frostbite. He is quite athletic. He plays tennis very well, on the school team. He also likes baseball. He catches and fields better than 90% of the kids out there, and yet he was so discouraged after the last baseball tryouts, he won’t tryout any more. That’s not right. Judge him by his abilities, not his disabilities.

Citizen Shlep

January 25th, 2013
2:01 pm

No One’s talking about your “expectations” ya self-absorbed pity-seeking moron. It’s the FEDS. You get it. The FEDS.

Vixzilla

January 25th, 2013
2:04 pm

I don’t think anyone has been prevented that has a disability if they prove to be able to compete.

NEWSFLASH >> School athletics are COMPETITIVE!!

This means taking advantage of every situation within the rules to WIN.
OUTSMART your opponent
OVERPOWER your opponent
OUTPLAY your opponent
DOMINATE your opponent.
win the MINDGAME!!

If they can thrive in that environment….PLAY BALL!

HOWEVER!! DO NOT make “reasonable accommodations to change the game to be something different than it is today. That’s horse crap!

A. Teesman

January 25th, 2013
2:07 pm

Bootney obviously excelled on the rabid rant team in school. By the way, a pitcher with one hand was a major leaguer. But, you probably knew that already. Don’t let it slow you down though. Continue.

BB

January 25th, 2013
2:13 pm

Bootney, I’m going to guess you didn’t have to worry about any achievements in athletics or certainly academia in your day. Or today. You’re a special kind of stupid.

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
2:13 pm

This administration has got to be the most idiotic group of left-wing nuts ever assembled. Every time I think we’ve reached the bottom, I get blind-sided by more pseudo-intellectual edicts from a gaggle of academic “poindexters” called the Obama Administration. I am embarrassed for our country and I feel dumber every time I hear their progressive dribble…Damn! How stupid will we get before it ends?

MikeDawg

January 25th, 2013
2:22 pm

Very few of us would willing deny kids with disabilities this access; my concern with such pronouncements is usually focuses on where additional monies will be found to provide tailored facilities, special equipment, etc. Once again, feds have all the great ideas without a clue how to make them a reality.

Big poppa

January 25th, 2013
2:25 pm

I wrestled in HS with a deaf guy…..we had no problems. Just told the ref before the match so he would know to give a visual queue or tap him on his back so he would know the whistle had been blown. The same play also played defensive line on the football team. He was never off sides as he did not care what the quarterback yelled.

Greg

January 25th, 2013
2:27 pm

The late Bob Dotter won the ARCA (NASCAR’s “little brother”) National Championship in 1980 … 1983 … and 1984 … … all the while driving with only his right arm … because he lost his left arm to an industrial accident when he was young. … … … If you can drive a race car with one arm … you could do just about anything.

Tommie Storms

January 25th, 2013
2:27 pm

New Guidelines Will Enhance Opportunities for Students with Disabilities to Particpate in School Sports

Impact Compared to Title IX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2013

ATLANTA, GA – A historic and significant milestone for our nations’ school children with disabilities has been reached with the guidance issued today by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The guidelines clarify schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to provide athletic opportunities for students with disabilities. The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP) commends the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights for this guidance, as it will have far reaching positive effects on the lives of children with disabilities and our communities.

Guidelines
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201301-504.html

“Each person and group who has worked within this sports movement can take heart that their work has not gone unnoticed and that with this new guidance we can further advance our vital work of making sure all kids who want to take part in school sports will have an opportunity to do so,” said Beverly Vaughn , AAASP Cofounder and Executive Director.

Ralph Swearngin , Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and board member of the National Federation of State High Schools said that he applauds the focus OCR is giving to providing athletic opportunities for disabled students. Swearingin commended AAASP for its leadership, expert guidance and pioneering efforts in this area of sport development for students with disabilities and stated, “the partnership GHSA has had with AAASP for over ten years now has been exceptional and we hope to see other state associations join AAASP as we move forward together for the positive educational benefit of sports participation for all students with disabilities.”

Through an alliance struck between the two groups in 2001, GHSA has relied on AAASP to assist with the integration of track and field events for those with disabilities. The AAASP/GHSA Varsity Wheelchair Basketball State Championship game has been telecast across the state for 8 years by Georgia Public Broadcasting alongside the boys and girls title games in basketball.

GAO study called for guidance
The guidance followed a 2010 study from the Government Accountability Office . GAO found that students with disabilities receive fewer opportunities for physical activity and sports participation than students without disabilities. The GAO called on the Department of Education to provide resources to assist states and schools in addressing this disparity of services and also asked that clarification of schools’ responsibilities be provided regarding athletic opportunities for students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and George Miller (D-CA) had called for the GOA study.

Advocates invoke Title IX
The Inclusive Fitness Coalition , comprised of over 200 groups around the nation, including AAASP, has called OCR’s guidance a landmark moment in opening the doors to students with disabilities in much the same way as Title IX has done for women. “It sends a loud message to educational institutions that students with disabilities must be provided opportunities for physical activity and sports equal to those afforded to students without disabilities,” according to AAASP Board member, Terri Lakowski , CEO of Active Policy Solutions in Washington, DC and former policy director for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Lakowski has championed efforts for equal physical activity and sports opportunities for women, girls and students with disabilities for over ten years.

Impact
Researchers with Healthy People 2011 indicated that since activity levels in adulthood are usually lower than during childhood, sport and physical activity patterns established during childhood form the foundation for lifelong physical activity and subsequent health and contribute to an overall quality of life.

Studies considered by OCR in issuing their guidance also establish that children with physical disabilities have greater activity barriers. They are often not encouraged to lead active lives and in fact this failure tends to lead to sedentary lives with greater health problems that may be avoidable.

Commenting on OCR’s announcement, Tommie Storms, AAASP’s Cofounder and Director of Operations noted that, “From its founding nearly 16 years ago, when our model was integrated into 10 school districts in less than three months time. AAASP has utilized every tool at its disposal to develop and implement policy, systems, adapted rules and training opportunities that have led to lasting sustainability and reasonable costs.”

Vaughn added, “We would also be   remise not to acknowledge those who comprise our member schools and high school associations and nearly two decades of input, review and recognition for our collective efforts by many of the nations’ best minds in this  area of sport and physical development. This news could not come at a  better time for these administrators, teachers, coaches and coordinators   who’ve dedicated themselves to the success of these students.”

Parents whose children take part in these programs have reported that it has been noting short of a life changing experience for their child.

The other top benefits identified by parents whose children participate include:
•    The opportunity to play sports that the kids would otherwise never have
•    Noted reductions over previous years in secondary health complications resulting from sedentary habits.
•    The ability to work hard, participate in a group, set goals, & excel in sports
•    Increased motivation to get good grades, improvement in academics
•    Active engagement and friendship with other students, mentors, & coaches 

Ben Master Named Athlete of the Week in Warner Robbin, GA.

Additional Info                                                                        

Story 1: PBS, “This is Atlanta” Introduction to AAASP

About AAASP
The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. works in partnership with education agencies in the U.S. to establish programs, policies, procedures, and regulations in interscholastic adapted sports for students with physical disabilities; provides services to Local Education Agencies, State High School Associations and State Departments of Education in extracurricular adapted athletics for physically disabled children attending grades 1-12; and improves student well-being while positively influencing total student development. For more information, please visit http://www.adaptedsports.org and/or view this short PBS special on the group.

Prof

January 25th, 2013
2:29 pm

ADA law states that schools must make “reasonable accommodations” for those students with disabilities. The “modifications” mentioned in this guidance letter certainly seem “reasonable.”

I fully support the principle behind the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, which significantly extended the definition of “disabled” from the ADA law originally passed in the 1970s by the way: all citizens should have equal access to public facilities and education. Those with disabilities have as much right to this access as other citizens. This is not “Obama’s nanny state” but long-established Federal law, as much as are Federal laws giving equal rights to other groups such as ethnic/racial minorities and women.

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
2:31 pm

You probably are a professor. Makes sense…

eaglefan

January 25th, 2013
2:36 pm

Go watch Milton varsity boys basketball team play and a kid with one arm starts on the squad. Talking about a disability! Kid never uses it as an excuse.

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2013
2:38 pm

“It’s no secret that sports helped to shape my life. From a very early age, playing basketball taught me valuable lessons about grit, discipline, and teamwork that are still with me to this day.”

Apparently not so many lessons about ethics and integrity.

Unless there was a basketball play called “go down to Atlanta and support cheating by doing in your power to politically prop up Beverly Hall.”

Perhaps Duncan should have picked a better role model as an example…

Fred ™

January 25th, 2013
2:45 pm

Dee Thompson

January 25th, 2013
1:58 pm

My son’s right hand was amputated when he was 5, due to frostbite. He is quite athletic. He plays tennis very well, on the school team. He also likes baseball. He catches and fields better than 90% of the kids out there, and yet he was so discouraged after the last baseball tryouts, he won’t tryout any more. That’s not right. Judge him by his abilities, not his disabilities.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SO how was his hitting? What about throwing the ball AFTER he caught or fielded it? Could he get the runner out more often than the kids who made the team? Did he hit the ball better than the ones he was competing against? If the answer to those questions is yes then his coach was stupid not to pick him. If no, then he wasn’t good enough.

Prof

January 25th, 2013
2:47 pm

Thank you for the compliment, GUTRAKE.

I’d also like to point out to some of the bloggers here that all of the Federal laws pertaining to legal equality for those with disabilities were passed under Republican presidents.

Nixon was President in 1973 when the Rehabilitation Act was passed by Congress, banning discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds.

George H.W. Bush was President in 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress.

George W. Bush was President in 2008, and expressed pride that near the end of his term the ADA Amendment Act was passed by Congress. Not only does this Act widen the definition of “disabled,” but it more explicitly details the sort of “reasonable accommodations” that businesses and schools must make to ensure access by those with disabilities.

Ben Shockley

January 25th, 2013
2:52 pm

Is irrational hatred a disability? If so, don’t tell bootney farnsworth. It might hurt her little feelings.

Harry Callahan

January 25th, 2013
2:53 pm

Is irrational hatred a disability? If so, don’t tell bootney farnsworth. It might hurt her little feelings.

Wolves Mom

January 25th, 2013
2:54 pm

Next thing you know they’ll be in combat. We’re so screwed unless we change direction.

The Truth

January 25th, 2013
2:55 pm

Anyone opposed to this should be disabled for a day to help their perspective. It’s challenging enough to be disabled without the simple thinking expressed by some of the toolboxes on this blog. Burn in Hades, you simpletons.

Ali50

January 25th, 2013
2:56 pm

I remember when my high school (in the 1970’s) was forced to let a girl in a wheelchair become a cheerleader. What a joke! She couldn’t do anything and everyone resented her and it was a disaster. She quit after only a few weeks. While Duncan’s ideas sound grand, I’m sure it’ll turn into another “program’ which forces the competent to concede to the less competent or incompetent in the name of political correctness. Trophies for everyone!

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
2:57 pm

Prof: You seem quite keen on past progressive legislation via conservative icons. Perhaps it is just a little inconvenient for you to also cede the fact that: Slavery was ended by a Republican, Jim Crow laws were eliminated by Republicans, and affirmative action was implemented by a Republican. I would wager that you can’t quite bring yourself to admit these accomplishments…or would I be wrong?…

The Truth

January 25th, 2013
3:01 pm

It’s not about competence, folks. Read it again…no one is requesting that the rules be changed! It’s about human decency and respect for others – yes, even the disabled. Go on about your lives and remained pissed off about those special parking places you can’t park in.

oneofeach4me

January 25th, 2013
3:05 pm

To all these people ranting and raving about laws or regulations to protect/include those who are different from them, maybe if we lived in a civilized society who treated each other with respect instead of acting like animals, then we wouldn’t need them.

Also, do some freakin research. The Rehabilitation Act was passed in 1973 (signed by Nixon) and the 504 Regulations were passed in 1977. Also, the Americans with Disabilities act which further extends the rights of those with disabilities was signed into law in 1990 by who?? George H.W. Bush. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT a new law. This was simply a reminder as well as some suggestions on how to alter certain things to incorporate the law instead of finding ways to work around it.

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
3:07 pm

Dude, take a breath…

oneofeach4me

January 25th, 2013
3:08 pm

Prof ~ you beat me to the submit button.

Fred ™

January 25th, 2013
3:12 pm

Greg

January 25th, 2013
2:27 pm

The late Bob Dotter won the ARCA (NASCAR’s “little brother”) National Championship in 1980 … 1983 … and 1984 … … all the while driving with only his right arm … because he lost his left arm to an industrial accident when he was young. … … … If you can drive a race car with one arm … you could do just about anything.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Really? Let me see him rub his belly and pat his head at the same time…….

Mary Ann

January 25th, 2013
3:16 pm

I realize that many of you commenters were undoubtedly truly elite competitors in your day (eyeroll), but I played sports throughout my childhood for a series of teams that ranged from mediocre to utterly terrible. Those were still some of the best experiences of my life, despite the fact that neither my nor my teammates performance ever touched the kind of gold-medal standards that some folks seem to worry about a disabled athlete tarnishing. All the legislation above does is clarify that *if a student can qualify to compete, with reasonable accommodations, they should be allowed to do so*. I’m just not seeing how that’s really going to somehow (clutches pearls) RUIN, JUST RUIN the experience for everyone else.

Oh, and seriously, y’all, with the racist comments: thank you. It helps me to know who is so lacking in rational adult thought that I can just uniformly skip by your comments every time. :) And to the people of color who read those comments: trust me, most of us white folks are deeply ashamed that we share a lesser degree of skin pigment with these folks. Wish I could do more than hide the silver when their jealous, covetous, irrational and clinging-to-any-excuse-for-failure-other-than-their-own-lacking selves are seated for supper at the intellectual table!

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
3:19 pm

Mary Ann, you seem so special…

Fred ™

January 25th, 2013
3:22 pm

A. Teesman

January 25th, 2013
2:07 pm

Bootney obviously excelled on the rabid rant team in school. By the way, a pitcher with one hand was a major leaguer. But, you probably knew that already. Don’t let it slow you down though. Continue.
++++++++++++++++++

Did he need Gov’t intervention or did he make it all on his own? What? He made it on his own? How is that then germane to the subject?

Jim Abbott, (your “pitcher” btw, he has a name), not only made the majors but he also threw a no-hitter. He wasn’t a hall of fame pitcher, but his accomplishment was still amazing nonetheless.

East Cobb RINO, Inc. (LLC)

January 25th, 2013
3:26 pm

Next thing you know they’ll be in combat….

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will lift a longstanding ban on women serving in combat.

GUTRAKE

January 25th, 2013
3:29 pm

This has been fun! Gotta go…but, we’ll talk again…at the “austerity riots” coming soon at a federal office near you……

BB

January 25th, 2013
3:33 pm

Here here Mary Ann! Most of these people commenting probably can’t see their toes from their beer guts and get winded going to the toilet.

Devil's Advocate

January 25th, 2013
3:36 pm

Both the headline of this article/blog and the messages contained within are misleading and unclear.

“Feds: Provide students with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in after-school athletics and clubs” suggests that there currently exists a climate where students with disabilities are being denied specifically because they have a disability. I’d be shocked if this is the case anywhere but a few specific cases that can be handled without any mandates from the Feds.

For example, there is a difference between denying a student a spot on the basketball team because he has one leg versus denying him the spot because he cannot perform at the level required to make the team. You see, the latter reason can be applied to many able-bodied (I use the term able-bodied since the article emphasizes disabled students) students who simply do not possess the ability to make the team relative to their peers who do make the team.

As for the actual content of this article, the statement was made that this new message from the Feds does not force schools to allow disabled students on competitive teams. Okay, so what’s the big deal here? Let’s go by the 2 examples mentioned:

1. The allowance of a visual cue alongside a starter pistol to allow a student with a hearing impairment who is fast enough to qualify for the track team the opportunity to compete.

This is a reasonable request but sounds more like the Feds are asking school districts to be more compliant with equipment used to facilitate sporting events. There doesn’t seem to be any call to action for providing “opportunity” to anyone as these requests already assume that participants are deserving to compete without special treatment.

2. The waiver of a rule requiring the “two-hand touch” finish in swim events so that a one-armed swimmer with the requisite ability can participate at swim meets.

The spirit of the reason for “two-hand touch” should not be erased as it’s probably there for a reason. I’m not a swimmer but is there some competitive advantages that could be taken using only a “one-hand touch” system? Why hasn’t this been implemented before? If there is a good reason for having the “two-hand touch” system, rather than waive the rule, alter it to say that swimmers much touch with all available hands to “finish” the race. I’m not familiar with the fastest times posted by one-arm swimmers but is it even reasonable to assume that they can beat the best two-arm swimmers constantly? I’m just asking because I don’t know.

I don’t know, the headline was just misleading to me after reading the story.

William Casey

January 25th, 2013
3:41 pm

@Bootney: you’re usually reasonable with good ideas. You’re irrationally unreasonable on this topic. I was not an elite athlete, somewhat due to having had polio strike the deltoid muscle in my dominant right arm. I was, however, “good competitive.” Had I come along in the ’20’s-’30’s rather than the ’50’s-’60’s, I would have been denied the opportunity to compete. I would have missed a lot! Sure, I had to learn to do everything left-handed. It was hard. It was also an invaluable lesson.

Only one school, Bowdon H.S., of the seven I worked in had any kind of intramural athletic program. I’ve always thought that high schools should have such programs. It would help all kids including the disabled ones.

Devil's Advocate

January 25th, 2013
3:41 pm

As far as the political rants that show up on every AJC blog no matter the subject, it seems that Republicans are celebrated for doing liberal things but Democrats are called socialists for doing liberal things.

*boggle*

William Casey

January 25th, 2013
3:43 pm

@ DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: I totally agree.

Bill Ellis

January 25th, 2013
3:53 pm

I am a public school teacher who coaches middle school basketball and baseball. My teaching job happens to be special education. I would say this article is yet another excercise in telling those who “do” already what and how they should be doing. I know of several kids with disabilities (albeit usually minor ones) who already participate in school sports. I have a former disabled student (mental disability) who is on the High School wrestling team and is a manager on the football team because the coaches like his attitude and work ethic. It is not like teachers need another beaurcrat telling them what the right way to do things, they are already doing it. As a coach, we always root for the kid who have any problems – one parent homes, low socioeconomic home, any disability, etc – however – sports are about a little taste of the real world – competition, doing your best – win or lose. If this is taken away in the interest of being “fair” it messes up what sports are and should be. What about a kid who would have made the team, but for the fact the coach is forced to take someone with a disability, what about his or her rights? Typical beauracratic nonsense creating more problems than are solved.

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2013
4:03 pm

I think Maureen got the caption wrong on the Duncan photo. I think (if I remember it from the archives correctly) the caption was, “Little girl, if I give you noodles will you also testify there were no erase marks on your paper and there is no way Beverly Hall knew or should have known.”

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2013
4:05 pm

Why bring this up you might ask? Because if Duncan can’t acknowledge his role in attempting to politically propping up Beverly Hall, then we have every right to call his integrity into question.

Chuck UUGA

January 25th, 2013
4:05 pm

Ahhh, an opening for the trial lawyers! Here come the lawsuits against School Districts with multi-million dollar awards funded to these turds via your tax dollars! Property taxes headed up to fund this activity! Then, you can expect girls on the sidelines for high school football games, boys suing to be cheerleaders, etc., much of which will be allowed to avoid those days in court. Think I’m kidding?! Then you are an idiot. Trial lawyers hire disabled to drive around spotting businesses who do not provide disabled access thereby violating the Americans with Disabilities Act that Queen Janet Reno passed under Clinton (and a law that will never be made reasonable via modification due to no elected official willing to stand up to such modification). This is also GREAT NEWS for private schools which continue to propagate and unintentionally continue to segregate our youth from mainstream America. Second Civil War was predicted. and I am afraid it is likely to occur within the next century. This garbage above is just another example of why.