Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This is new…..and illegal….

So, in my work as an education consultant working with families and students around the state, a new problem has started to creep up.  I have heard it three times now, from three different high schools.  I am wondering where this message is coming from, as it is highly illegal, and smacks of civil rights abuse.  Maybe some of you have heard this one before…if so, let me know!  Some high schools are telling parents and students that the student can’t take college prep or honors level classes because they don’t offer special education support for that level of class.  The first time I heard that, I thought I just misunderstood something.  Then I heard it again, at a different place, then again from yet another school.  If a student has a disability, yet is able to take college prep or honors level courses, whatever services are required by the IEP are required to be provided in all of the student’s classes, regardless of level.  There are many very very VERY smart individuals who are in honors classes who might also have a disability.  Einstein was learning disabled for Pete’s sake and failed out of school….that should have taught us something.

Now, it may be true that there is not enough time in the school day to provide the necessary supports if a student choses to take college prep classes, as often these students take many courses, and given the nature of the high school schedule, I can understand that problem.  Of course, it doesn’t mean the school doesn’t provide the services, it means that they need to figure out how and when they will provide the services.  In these circumstances, a school would need to provide time after or before school, for instance, for a student to get the services they might need. 

But….a school CAN NOT say that because of a disability a student can’t take a college prep or honors course, and by saying that they will not provide the services at those levels, they are essentially saying that.  That is illegal, and goes against all the IDEA and Civil Rights Laws stand for.