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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Law Enforcement as an End Run Around IDEA

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between police and autistic people

The recent arrest of an autistic 10-year old in Florida highlights the relationship of education and law enforcementDavid Perry writes at CNN:
Samantha Crane, a lawyer and director of public policy for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said that schools should at least develop "behavior intervention plans" to ameliorate situations like this, although often such plans are too "coercive" in design.
Why are schools so reliant on law enforcement? Crane told me that she and other disability rights advocates are worried that schools are using law enforcement to sidestep compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was passed to ensure that students with disabilities received appropriate services and education.
She said, "By referring a kid to law enforcement, the school can bypass IDEA's procedures for suspension and expulsion of kids with disabilities."
If a behavior is determined to be disability-related, the school must address it as an educational issue. But, she said, "There's no such requirement when referring a kid to law enforcement. Schools are actually telling teachers and paraprofessionals to press charges against students, in order to get the students out of their class."