“I hope these children are included in regular classrooms and get the support they need.”
knightmarian
12

I have heard that argument often. I respect your sincerity, but I hope you can think a little harder about this. I’ve spent my entire adult life advocating and studying around these issues and have found that there actually is an easy answer for including most people in most places and activities most of the time. Why are general education classrooms ill-equipped to handle children with disabilities? Funding, just like you said. Who makes funding decisions? Human beings. Bad funding priorities that result in classrooms that cannot be inclusive aren’t divinely-ordained. They aren’t natural phenomena like gravity or the weather. They’re human choices, and human choices can be changed. Changing our choices and priorities is hard, but I would rather do that hard work than throw children away, give up on educating them, hide them away in disgusting facilities, and consign them to the school-to-prison pipeline. I hope you feel the same way. We can decide to make classrooms more inclusive, and we should because, done right, that benefits children with and without disabilities.

Also, the Justice Department hasn’t put us in any situation. The State of Georgia did that by itself. I’m not a lawyer yet. That is still about a year away, but it really looks like Georgia is violating federal law. Part of the Justice Department’s purpose is stepping in when states do that. It’s just doing its job in the same way that police officers are just doing their jobs when they stop crimes in progress. I’m not sure what other solution there is. If the Justice Department let Georgia keep breaking the law, other states would notice and realize that they might get away with unlawful conduct, too. The law itself would be weakened, and that might cause all kinds of (possibly life-threatening) problems for some of this country’s most vulnerable people.