Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Girl's Death Brings Parental Concern

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Girl's Death Brings Parental Concern

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: I am writing regarding the recent killing of a young lady in one of the area's public schools. I understand the young man accused of the crime was labeled as "behavioral disordered."

Every day parents are sending their children to school and fear for their safety. I know that the intent is to mainstream all students into regular classrooms, yet, can we justify subjecting the entire population of a school to this kind of hostility for the sake of a few?

Individuals in our schools and communities who engage in dangerous and anti-social behaviors are not always those identified as being behaviorally disordered or mentally ill. In reality, most of the criminal acts committed in our society are at the hands of members of the general population. It may be unfair to isolate or institutionalize all students classified as behavior disordered (B.D.), because one student reported to be B.D. is suspected of having committed murder.

The challenge to educators is to provide ALL students with a safe, nurturing school environment that is conducive to their optimum growth and development. Federal and state statutes require public schools to provide educational services to students with disabilities in educational settings that restrict their exposure to the "norm" only to the extent necessary to ensure their educational progress. This is known as the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirement.

Failure to implement this requirement could result in the withholding of federal funds (and some state funds) to a school district.

There is no requirement that all special education students be educated in regular classes; placement decisions must be made on an individual basis. Some students with disabilities are educated in very restrictive settings, such as institutions, homes and special schools.

Others are educated in regular schools where they receive varying combinations of regular education and special education along with support services. …

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