The purpose of this essay is to consider the problem of teaching children with disabilities in educational institutions of various levels. This case is considered from the legal side of the issue, and the task of the study is to consider the main regulations that have shaped the current policy of teaching children with special needs. The position of equality is obviously so necessary in the context of the student’s inclusion in society and the educational system seems to be fundamentally important as a sign of striving for real justice in the education system. The right to receive education, judging by the laws and acts that will be discussed below, is currently inalienable, that is, a basic human opportunity.
Learning is as fundamental a human activity as listening or looking, so to deny education to disabled students would be to express doubts about their true humanity. It would be interesting to consider the interaction between federal law and the legal rights and responsibilities of a particular state. The state is legally prohibited from doing less than federal law for children with disabilities, thus meeting the basic ethical standard of admission to education. However, any state can improve its methods of caring for the disabled members of the community, and education for children with physical needs is no exception.
The difference in the quality and specifics of providing education to a person with disability actually depends on the interpretation by any of the states of any of the concepts or laws given by the federal jurisdiction. The interpretation of the law turns out to be more flexible and free depending on the state, so it would make sense at this level to discuss the most significant possibilities of difference. First of all, the interpretation of the very concept of disability can have different criteria (Bunbury, 2020). Based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), there are 13 types of deviations for which a person can receive special education and have special educational needs (Shaw, 2020). However, the state gets the right to arbitrarily interpret this concept, narrowing the boundaries of students’ access to education.
A notable case in this respect is the case of Rowley v. Hendrick Hudson, which revised access to education for people with disabilities (1982). The complexity of the case was that the girl with hearing problems did not want to appoint a symbolic interpreter, since, according to the school, she was already coping with all the tasks. This case, decided in the direction of the most comfortable conditions for a girl, gave the legal system an important understanding.
It is essential that students with disability not only cope with the main tasks, but that their learning conditions are as comfortable as possible. Students with special difficulties should be in an environment that is the least restrictive to their ability to learn, act, and express themselves (Jebril & Chen, 2021). Although, of course, in each state, the idea of a suitable public education can also only differ. It should be added that this case as a result served as a schematic example by which similar cases are traditionally considered. The entire American legal system seeks to work on this principle – a high-profile case should create a precedent for similar consideration of such proceedings in the future.
However, the case of Daniel R. R. v. The State Board of Education shows that the problem of education for disabled students may remain unsolved by placing the student in a competent learning environment (1989). In the case of Daniel, a six-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome, conditions were initially created for him to simplify his learning. As for the socialization of the boy, he was placed during lunch and breaks with his non-backward classmates. As a result, the benefits of such a blended education were extremely low, since it did not really meet the needs of the boy.
Thus, this case was interpreted by the state as a deviation from the usual strategy of action, and the boy was given the opportunity to receive an education completely separate from non-disabled colleagues. This example demonstrates, first of all, the flexibility in the interpretation of the educational law, according to which education should be appropriate and appropriate. The environment around Daniel should be the least stressful and traumatic for the child, so in order to avoid bullying, conditions were created to separate him from his classmates.
This is an example of the interpretation of the concept of the least restrictive learning environment, implying that this criterion can be interpreted in two ways. Thus, for someone, creating conditions for the highest quality education may be a limitation, while for another person, on the contrary, this limitation is extremely valuable and useful (Kantor, 2019). Perhaps that is why it seems so important to be able to explicate the law depending on a particular hearing. The ability to place the letter of the law in a specific context gives the legal system the ability to actually help people with its informed decision.
Also, one should discuss the issue of financial costs associated with creating conditions for the education of a child with disabilities. An extremely influential hearing in this respect was the Cedar Rapids Community School Dist. v. Garret F (1999). The school wanted to reduce the cost of creating an educational environment for a child with difficulty ventilating the lungs. However, the court ordered non-doctors within the school to carry out all of Garrett’s health-related procedures. These procedures were interpreted by the court as creating the necessary conditions for the child to be able to get an education, that is, they fit into the concept of IDEA. Thus, regardless of the financial condition of the educational institution, they must be able to provide inclusive education.
Thus, based on the above examples, one can conclude that the inclusiveness of students with disability at the moment clearly has a positive trend. America’s judicial system operates based on fundamental hearings from previous years, which serve as an example and a model for further similar cases. The cases considered in this essay are resonant examples that have become the basis of the modern legal attitude to education for disabled. Thereby, any legislative system, in this case related to education, will have the opportunity to improve, adjusting its decisions depending on the unusualness and novelty of the case.
It should be noted, however, that there is a difference between federal and state law, since the same legal document or code may be interpreted differently in each state. The concept of the least restrictive educational environment, for example, can imply a wide variety of solutions in the context of a student with a disability. The harm or benefit the education system inflicts on a student with a disability can be determined based on general federal concepts drawn from the state system. If this interpretation is unsatisfactory, it can be challenged only in the courtroom. However, it is precisely such high-profile cases that prove capable of truly improving the education system, while also drawing the attention of the general public to the complex issue of disabled student placement.
Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982).
Bunbury, S. (2020). Disability in higher education – do reasonable adjustments contribute to an inclusive curriculum? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 24(9), 964-979.
Cedar Rapids Community School Dist. v. Garret F., 526 U.S. 66 (1999).
Daniel R.R., Plaintiff-appellant, v. State Board of Education, et al., 874 F.2d 1036 (1989).
Jebril, T., & Chen, Y. (2021). The architectural strategies of classrooms for intellectually disabled students in primary schools regarding space and environment. Ain Shams Engineering Journal, 12(1), 821-835.
Kantor, V. Z. (2019). Inclusive higher education: Special environmental conditions for teaching disabled students. Psychological-Educational Studies. 11(3), 44–56. Web.
Shaw, A. (2020). Inclusion of disabled Higher Education students: why are we not there yet? International Journal of Inclusive Education.