Dear family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who reads this. I need your help.
The Covid-19 Crisis is a difficult time for all of us. We are either concerned about the health of our loved ones, our livelihood, our children's education, or all of the above. That all said, we should still be vigilant about how our government is going to use its powers to potentially strip the rights of some of our most vulnerable populations. It has happened in the past such as after 9/11 and can happen again.
Although I don't practice special education law, the topic is nevertheless near and dear to me for personal reasons. As a mother to a special needs child, any curbs on rights of our special needs children will impact my own child as well as many others' who I know personally. Further, it's not uncommon for governments to start stripping the rights of our most vulnerable then slowly moving on to other groups.
This is happening now with the proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that directs Secretary DeVos to provide a report on needed waivers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. While every industry is making moves to adjust to these difficult times, our government is proposing, instead, to suspend the rights of one of our most vulnerable populations. Rather, advocates, parents, and school districts can use this as an opportunity, like the rest of the world, to provide creative solutions rather than taking away literally life-saving supports from our children. Over 7 million children eligible under IDEA and 700,000 eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act rely on these laws to receive special education supports and services.
I am appealing to all my friends and colleagues to take just 5 minutes to write to your senators and representatives to oppose the specific provisions giving Secretary DeVos vague, yet broad, rights to potentially waive the legal rights of our beloved special needs children.
Take Action NOW!:
- Send your Senators and your Representative an email today! (phone calls may not be answered due to office closures).
- Find your Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Find your Representative here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
You can also see more at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)'s action alert.
(1) Untreated ADHD image credit: https://themighty.com/2019/10/pina-adhd-alien-depression-comic/
(2) Autism spectrum disorder image credit: https://socialworkhelper.com/2015/03/30/helping-children-autism-spectrum-disorder/
(3) Facebook image: https://www.cystinosisunited.com/living-with-cystinosis/help-in-the-classroom