Destructive rights of student inclusion

If you have wondered how the Parkland killer could have asserted a legal right to be “mainstreamed” into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School despite a long history of violent tendencies, this investigation by the local newspaper may provide your answer.

In an eight-month investigation, the South Florida Sun Sentinel found that a sweeping push for “inclusion” enables unstable children to attend regular classes even though school districts severely lack the support staff to manage them. … Even threatening to shoot classmates is not a lawful reason to expel the child….

“It’s just a no-win scenario right now,” said attorney Julie Weatherly, of Mobile, Alabama, who advises school districts on the legal complexities of removing aggressive students when they have a disability. “Nobody wants a Parkland, of course. It’s this huge nightmare.”

Aside from IDEA, the federal disabled-rights-in-school laws, and its sometimes even more stringent state counterparts, federal education privacy laws are involved as well. A Broward County teacher chose to break the rules after an elementary student “obsessed” over a girl, tormented her if she withheld attention, and on being removed from the classroom one day cried and screamed her name while throwing himself against a door:

The girl’s mother had no idea her daughter was being terrorized. Because of the student’s federally protected privacy rights, Budrewicz’s bosses cautioned her not to tell the mother — a warning she ultimately defied. The mom cried and thanked her and removed her daughter from the class the next day, she said.

[Brittany Wallman and Megan O’Matz, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; earlier here and here]


  • There’s been stories like this for years, where a student is seen breaking things, assaults on teachers, staff, police, and other students, threats, and so forth—only to find out that student has some disability or is special needs and, in effect, has a permanent “get out of jail free” card, which prevents punishment, expulsion, or transfers out of schools. This latter, bizarre idea NEEDS to end—and now, before another Stoneman High takes place.

    That, plus the cost of mainstreaming such students—in other stories years back, here on Overlawyered for example, that cost was listed as either ten times the per student cost, or in some cases over $100,000 per student—is compounded by the diagnoses of new “disorders” seemingly on a weekly basis; that’s a problem in its own right and needs to be limited. It also seems that diagnosing “autism” or “ADD”/“ADHD” has become a catch-all diagnosis for some students, and it’s seen by other students as “if they can get away with violent acts and threats so can I, and I won’t be punished because ‘so-and-so’ did it and nothing happened”.

  • My Nephew has Spina Bifida. His doctors advised that he be home schooled, but, our school district demanded that he be in class. His parents objected and a lawyer representing the teacher’s union got a Judge to order that he be in class to the best of his ability. The reason was that because he was handicapped, the district received additional funding from both the State and Federal Governments for every handicapped student. They went so far as to hire an aide for him and guess what union the aide belonged to.

    • Do you know why the union had standing in the matter? I’m not arguing, just curious as I’m unfamiliar with the law in the area and it seems so strange that the union should even be heard in litigation over whether a particular child should be required to physically attend classes.

      • Our local teacher’s union has an interest in anything involving funding. Their lawyers have gotten involved in property tax re-assessments where taxes were going to be reduced, things like my nephew’s situation and the proper collection of school taxes. The exact reasons for this I don’t know.

  • The case law regarding the IDEA is atrocious. The case law especially in the 9th Circuit departs significantly from the original intent of the IDEA. It doesn’t help that individual school districts, and state and local governments have pushed the “mainstreaming” idea to the limit. Just look at California’s policies keeping violent juveniles in schools and refusing to discipline students. All terrible policies pushed by extreme leftists.