61 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Bob Steinburg, Bill Cook, Roy Cooper

"Kendall's Cameras" for NC Special Needs Classrooms

Kendall has autism and was physically and verbally abused, suspended, threatened with criminal prosecution and repeatedly mocked at school. Kendall now suffers from extreme anxiety and panic disorder.  She still suffers nightmares and meltdowns from the trauma she endured. Kendall's experience highlights the need for cameras in our special needs classrooms. Cameras will allow us to monitor over 200,000 special needs children and should be considered a protection for everyone. Kendall's story is not unique.  Some of our most vulnerable children are subjected to cruelties while they are at a place we should expect them to be safe. "Something is very wrong when our children are unsafe at school," said George Miller (D-CA).  We plan to meet with legislators to convince them that  "Kendall's Cameras" are something we need for our schools but we can't do this alone. Please watch our video above and sign this petition in support of not only Kendall but all of our children.  In 1998, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that 3 individuals with special needs die every week in US schools and Institutions due to abusive practices like restraint and seclusion. The Hartford Courant, which had requested the study, concluded that the actual toll could be three to ten times higher than estimated. Please check the update section for stories from other families to support our need for classroom cameras. 

Toni Kriss
2,753 supporters
Started 1 week ago

Petition to Dr. Wendy V. Falb, Teresa Weatherall Neal, Raynard Ross, Jen Schottke, Dr. Tony Baker, Kristian Grant, Maureen Slade, Rev. John Matias, Katherine Lewis, Dr. Jose Flores

Adopt Safeguards to Stop the Dismantling of Special Education at GRPS

In 2017, there have been many changes and situations (listed below) which, in total, signal the dismantling or downslide of special education at Grand Rapids Public Schools (hereinafter, “GRPS”).  Therefore, these safeguards for a greater transparency, a townhall, and a greater voice for parents and community stakeholders are essential.  There is also a request that the Board of Education members visit the special needs schools and programs quarterly.   Moreover, since GRPS is the largest public school in West Michigan, it is also the leader in either quality special education or the downward slide of special education in West Michigan.  Also, since GRPS is in the U.S. Secretary of Education’s backyard of West Michigan, what happens to special education in GRPS will set a precedence for the quality of special education throughout the United States.  In 2017, there have been many changes which affect the quality of special education.  We are greatly concerned that these changes and results appear to signal the dismantling of special education in West Michigan’s largest public school, the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Special education appears to be in a downfall and to be reduced to its bare bones.    Denying ESY (extended school year or yearlong school) to the many students with severe autism who desperately need it.  The students at the center-based schools of Lincoln, Lincoln Developmental Center, and Pine Grove qualified for these schools based upon the severity of their disabilities.  Last summer, GRPS denied ESY to a significant portion of students with severe autism for the first time.  Many families who were denied did not have skilled and experienced advocates to represent them during IEP meetings with the schools throughout the school year.  Closing a transitional school (which serve students with special needs from age 18-26 years old).  GRPS closed Kent Vocational Options (KVO) without giving families and the community an opportunity to voice their concerns before making this major decision. Moreover, the ramifications include one school facility which cannot adequately accommodate students who have physical disabilities or challenges.    Transferring a special needs preschool program:  GRPS closed the Kenosha special needs preschool program at Van Auken and transferred and consolidated it with the Campus Early Childhood Center at Thomas Street (Kenosha Campus).   We are also very concerned that, in September 2017, GRPS is somehow short over 30 special education teachers.  One special needs school, KEC Oakleigh, does not have a principal and only 2 of the 9 teachers from last year have returned.  We are also concerned about GRPS’ ability to hire qualified special education teachers.    We are also concerned that less students now qualify for special education, even though the number of students medically diagnosed with a disability has increased.  Furthermore, the students who have a high functioning disability, such as ADHD, are often and unfortunately denied special education, an IEP or Section 504.  They too have a disability and require accommodations.    Students who are in the Moderately Cognitively Impaired and the Autism Spectrum Disorder programs at the GRPS high school are currently changing teachers and classrooms many weeks after the school year has begun.  Finding details (transparency) for this unusual change is a challenge.  Therefore, to prevent the dismantling of special education at GRPS, we ask that GRPS adopt the following safeguards and measures:  GRPS and its Board will zealously protect its students with disabilities. GRPS and its Board will maintain and improve special education services and programs for its students with disabilities.  *** Each GRPS Board Member should visit a classroom in a special education program or school quarterly.       GRPS and its Board will be fully transparent in informing its families and its community stakeholders of any proposal which may significantly cut, alter, or close any special education programs, services, or schools.  It should do so “before” it makes any decision for a major or significant change. GRPS and its Board will ensure that the Board, the families, and the community stakeholders fully understand the impact and ramifications of any proposal for a major change which affects special education services and programs, “before” any decision for a major or significant change is made  GRPS and its Board will ensure that the families and community stakeholders are fully engaged and are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and have their voice fully heard and their concerns fully considered, before any decisions for a major or significant change is made. *** GRPS and its Board will ensure a quarterly town hall meeting for students, parents, guardians, and community stakeholders (who are care about students with special needs and are concerned about the state of special education and its effect on the city of Grand Rapids and West Michigan).  This meeting should have an impartial moderator.  GRPS and its Board will make a commitment to zealously advocate for students with disabilities to ensure that their education improves their future, including but not exclusively:  the ability to work, to volunteer, and to become a productive member of society. We believe that the state of special education is an important community issue.  It affects both the families of students with disabilities and the reputation of Grand Rapids.  Since we desire that Grand Rapids be a welcoming, caring, and open-minded cosmopolitan city, we are vigilant in protecting students with disabilities and preventing the dismantling of special education.  [The mission of the A-TEAM: Disability & Community Coalition is: to advocate for the best interest of individuals with disabilities, to actively utilize our collective resources, to collaborate, and to empower individuals and their families to ensure that their education improves their present quality of life and their future.]

A-TEAM: Disability & Community Coalition
590 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Bradley Byrne, Richard Shelby, Lisa Murkowski, Don Young, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Martha McSally, John Boozman, Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth, Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly, Michael Bennet, Cory Gardner, Diana DeGette, Christopher Murphy, Rosa DeLauro, Tom Carper, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Matt Gaetz, Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Buddy Carter, Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono, Colleen Hanabusa, Mike Crapo, Raul Labrador, Joe Donnelly, Jackie Walorski, Pat Roberts, Lynn Jenkins, Mitch McConnell, James Comey, Bill Cassidy, Steve Scalise, Susan Collins, Chellie Pingree, Ben Cardin, Andy Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Neal, Debbie Stabenow, John Bergman, Jack Brandenburg, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Ann Wagner, Jon Tester, Deb Fischer, Charles Schumer, Lee Zeldin, Kathleen Rice, Richard Burr, G.K. Butterfield, Heidi Heitkamp, Kevin Cramer, Sherrod Brown, Steve Chabot, James Inhofe, Jim Bridenstine, Ron Wyden, Suzanne Bonamici, Robert Casey, Robert Brady, Jack Reed, David Cicilline, Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Kristi Noem, Lamar Alexander, Diane Black, John Cornyn, Kay Granger, Orrin Hatch, Mia Love, Patrick Leahy, Peter Welch, Mark Warner, Scott Taylor, Patty Murray, Suzan DelBene, Shelley Capito, David McKinley, Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, Mike Enzi, Liz Cheney

Make Endometriosis A Recognized Disability In the United States

1 in 10 women suffer with Endometriosis which has no cure. Most of these women are in the twenty to forty age group (can be younger or older) and of the women who have this condition up to 40% are infertile. Unfortunately it can take up to 10 years for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis. Many struggle to keep jobs or have lost their jobs due to this painful condition. As of right now social security does not recognized endometriosis on the disability list. It is because they consider the pain to be intermittent and can be manged with medication which endo suffers can agree that that is not always the case. Too often women are turned down because of this reason. This petition has been made so that we can get this condition recognized as a disability in the United States. Too often we must suffer because we have no other resort. I hope that we can reach the white house and make this happen.  Everyone please sign, this condition is so common that if you are not a sufferer yourself you know someone (mother, sister, aunt, daughter, wife, girlfriend, friend, etc.) that suffers from it. Thank you for your support!

Nicole Ficenec
2,967 supporters