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Police Handcuffing 7-Year-Olds? The Brutality Unleashed on Kids With Disabilities in Our School Systems

As school budgets are cut, disabled students are being handed over to police for behavioral infractions -- and handcuffs are just the beginning of what they're forced to endure.

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Bottom-up educational reform often focuses on teachers, blaming them for the failures of the educational system. But this approach largely ignores the structural issues plaguing many districts as they fight for funding, cut student and staff services, and live in fear of the latest test results and what they mean for the school’s future. For students with disabilities, these issues are further complicated by the need to access a functional educational environment where they will be safe from harm, and not at risk of run-ins with the police. In this educational landscape it’s hard for disabled students to learn, let alone realize their full potential.

Poor training, funding cuts and increased pressure to teach to the test don’t add up to much for the most vulnerable students in our schools – or many of the others, for that matter. “Sadly,” Vicki Soloniuk points out, “we don’t seem to care very much about our kids in this country.”


s.e. smith is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Bitch, Feministe, Global Comment, the Sun Herald, the Guardian, and other publications. Follow smith on Twitter: @sesmithwrites.

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