Dec 08, 2022, 12:15 ET
- The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) calls on the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to improve the Juvenile Justice system by stopping the criminalization and disadvantaging of students with learning disabilities.
- It is estimated that 60%-75% of those within the juvenile justice system have a disability, of which students with disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested than their non-disabled peers.
- As part of its new Unlocking Futures report, NCLD outlines a list of policy recommendations for USED to ensure that states are held accountable for their legal responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- The report shares the numerous IDEA violations in state and local juvenile facilities across the country.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) calls on the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to improve the Juvenile Justice system by stopping the criminalization and disadvantaging of students with learning disabilities.
As part of its new Unlocking Futures report, NCLD highlights that there are nearly 240,000 instances of juvenile detention in the U.S. every year. It is estimated that 60%-75% of those within the system have a disability, while students with disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested than their non-disabled peers.
"This report sheds light on the many ways our juvenile justice system fails youth with disabilities," says Jessica Snydman, policy research associate, at NCLD. "Providing academic resources and IDEA services within correctional facilities is critical to a student's success upon reentry to school. Failure to provide these services results in lifelong hardships for youth following their incarceration."
NCLD outlines policy recommendations for (USED) to ensure that states are held accountable for their responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The U.S. Department of Education to reissue and modernize its guidance to states about juvenile justice facilities' responsibilities under the IDEA.
The U.S. Congress holding oversight hearings and issuing a report on state compliance with IDEA in juvenile facilities.
The U.S. Department of Education actively enforcing state responsibility for children with disabilities in state and local juvenile facilities, including through legal action.
The report outlines that in many state and local juvenile facilities, key aspects of IDEA are not presently being fulfilled, such as children with disabilities receiving Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
"One of the most invisible populations among justice-involved youth today includes students with cognitive disabilities," says Leigh Ann Davis, MSSW, MPA, senior director, The Arc's National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability. "Data from the Bureau of Justice statistics reveals that people with cognitive disabilities are more likely to be a victim of crime and are also more likely to be in prison or jail. Given this stark reality, it is imperative to have access to reports like Unlocking Futures to inspire and engage our collective thinking, advocacy, and vision to ensure long-term change in outdated and ineffective systems."
NCLD found a host of ways in which the IDEA is being violated by state and local juvenile facilities, including unjust use of restraint and seclusion methods and failure to educate students in the least restrictive environment (LRE) — which is their legal obligation.
"The blatant and unfair criminalization of students with disabilities has to stop. This report convincingly outlines key data points and policy recommendations that empower advocates toward comprehensive and sustainable reforms," says Davis.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation's federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA requires that schools provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
IDEA also provides precise requirements to guarantee a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). FAPE and LRE are the protected rights of every eligible child in all fifty states and U.S. Territories.
IDEA requires every state to issue regulations that guide the implementation of federal law within the state. At a minimum, state regulations must provide all of the protections contained in IDEA. Some states may have additional requirements that go beyond federal law. Many states offer handbooks or guides to help parents understand these state-specific policies and procedures.
For 45 years, the National Center for Learning Disabilities has worked to create a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, work, and life. Our programs primarily target the underserved and include dozens of resources designed to support families, educators, and policymakers as they serve students with learning and attention issues.
To learn more about NCLD, visit www.ncld.org.
SOURCE NATIONAL CENTER FOR LEARNING DISABILITIES
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