In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities.
From the American Civil Liberties Union:
- Now more than ever, the administration needs to make sure that states and school districts continue to meet their obligation to provide appropriate educational services and assessments to students with disabilities. This includes helping them make up for instructional time and services lost during distance learning and school closures due to COVID-19. To support students with disabilities who have been left behind during the pandemic, the administration must make targeted Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding a priority for the next congressional COVID-19 relief package. The Department of Education must also provide robust guidance that highlights best practices that school districts have adopted during the pandemic and ensures students with disabilities are not unnecessarily pushed into alternative schools during the pandemic.
- The administration also must stop the unnecessary and harmful restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities in schools by executive action and supporting appropriate legislation. Mechanical or physical restraints harm children and inflict lasting psychological trauma, yet their use still happens far too often in schools. Action is needed now to end these draconian practices and ensure that our schools are places where children feel safe to learn.
- The overuse of police, known as school resource officers, in our nation’s schools disproportionately harms students of color with disabilities, criminalizes normal childhood behavior, and funnels students into the school-to-prison pipeline. The administration must take executive action and pursue legislative opportunities to eliminate federal funding that puts police in schools and reinvest those funds to hire school counselors, psychologists, and other supportive mental health personnel for our students. The administration must also investigate school districts where the data show disproportionate rates of law enforcement referrals and arrests for students with disabilities, and hold those school districts accountable.