Topic

discrimination against disabled and differently abled

23 petitions

Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Steve Diveley, Michelle Gallo, Dr. Paul Gordon, President of the United States, Illinois Governor

Don't allow School District 41 and Hadley Junior High to segregate our daughter AGAIN

Some of you may remember last year when we created a petition to stop School District 41 from segregating our daughter with Down Syndrome from her typical peers. With the help of this petition and the 18,000+ supporters who signed it and shared their own personal stories, we were able to get the district to overturn their decision in April 2015. They agreed to "let" our daughter attend her neighborhood school and be taught with her general education peers. The school year started off well, but we began to see a similar trend. Our daughter was not receiving the support she needed to succeed. The general education curriculum was not being modified as it legally should be, leading to frustration and behavior issues. Hiba was basically being set up to fail. We found several experts to assist the school team, even a professor from New Hampshire, who offered a free Skype session to help the school develop a more inclusive plan for Hiba, but the district refused her help. Recently, we were able to get the school district to have an outside behavior therapist evaluate our daughter to see why current behavior intervention strategies being used by school staff were ineffective. This specialist offered some great strategies for the teachers and therapists to aid them in redirecting Hiba in class. She even offered to help the staff modify the curriculum for the next 4 weeks to see if proper modification would help diminish Hiba's negative behaviors. The special education director refused this help as well. The real surprise at this meeting occurred when the special education director stated that, despite Hiba reaching all her academic goals, the district intends on placing her back in a segregated self-contained classroom next year in middle school. She cited behavior concerns as their reason to separate Hiba from her peers indefinitely. Legally, the district has to provide proper supports to enable Hiba to be taught in the least restrictive environment. By denying the assistance of a certified behavior therapist to address behavior concerns, and then using the same behavior concerns as an excuse to keep Hiba out of the general education classroom, they are inexcusably breaking the law. Needless to say, we are not in agreement with this placement, and will go back to fighting for Hiba's legal right to be taught alongside her typical peers and be given proper accommodations and supports to succeed. We need your help once again to make sure Hiba stays with her peers. If she is placed in a self-contained classroom with 3 other kids with various disabilities, we know she will regress. So everything Hiba has accomplished this year, the incredible friendships she has formed, and the academic progress she has made, will all be lost. We cannot let that happen. It is important to note that there is another child with Down Syndrome who has been fully included in this same school district from day one, previously in elementary school, then at this same junior high, and now at the district high school. We have no idea why the district has agreed to include this child for her entire academic career thus far, but refuses to do the same for Hiba. This other girl is thriving and we just want the same opportunity for our daughter. Please sign and share this petition with everyone you know so School District 41 and Hadley Junior High in Glen Ellyn know it is not OK to discriminate against Hiba. Below is the original petition we started last year: "The first thing you might notice about our daughter Hiba is that she has Down syndrome. But to those who know her, Hiba is a beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate 9 year old. She loves math and her favorite show is “Doc McStuffins.” If you ask Hiba what she wants to be when she grows up, she will tell you "a doctor." This is not surprising considering how much she loves helping people. As her parents, we see a child with all the potential of any other child. Unfortunately, her school system has kept Hiba segregated from other students and it has taken its toll on her education and spirit. All they seem to see is a child with Down syndrome. Down syndrome does not define our daughter. We are asking Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba her legal right to be fully integrated and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary. For the past 5 years, Hiba’s education has been spent in isolated, 1-on-1 settings. It has been painful to watch Hiba not be responsive to this education approach. She has become depressed, withdrawn, and as a result, hasn’t performed well in her studies. Hiba knows she is being treated differently and separated from the “normal” kids. Districts across the US have diversified the classroom to include both children with disabilities and those considered “typical” for the past few decades. Education research and organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society endorse full inclusion in education settings. This approach would allow Hiba to be fully integrated into the general education classroom with her “typical” peers the entire school day. She would be learning the same things, but with a modified lesson plan, technology support, and 1:1 aide in the classroom. This plan would be developed by a well-known inclusion specialist. We know this is the best approach for Hiba. Educational inclusion won’t just benefit Hiba. When children with disabilities are educated alongside their “typical” peers, research shows academic and social benefits for everyone. True acceptance of diversity begins in the school environment. It is then carried out in the home, workplace, and community. Glen Ellyn School District 41 insists this is not the best approach for Hiba. They point to how she has behaved and performed in the isolated classroom. School officials can’t see these are symptoms of being segregated and exactly why Hiba belongs in a classroom with her "typical" peers. This is why we started the petition. We need you to help Hiba get in a classroom setting where she will thrive. Your voice can make all the difference. Our dream is for Hiba to be afforded all the same opportunities as everyone else so she can achieve her full potential and be a kind, active member of society. Please sign and share our petition calling on Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba to be fully included and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary."

Saadia Qureshi
1,783 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Michelle Gallo, President of the United States, Illinois Governor, Steve Diveley

Don’t allow School District 41 and Hadley Junior High segregate our daughter AGAIN

Some of you may remember last year when we created this petition to stop School District 41 from segregating our daughter with Down Syndrome from her typical peers. With the help of this petition and the thousands of supporters who signed and shared their own personal stories, we were able to get the district to overturn their decision in April 2015. They agreed to "let" our daughter attend her neighborhood school and be taught with her general education peers. The school year started off well, but we began to see a similar trend. Our daughter was not receiving the support she needed to succeed. She was basically being set up to fail. The curriculum was not being modified as it should be, leading to frustration and behavior issues. We found several experts to assist the school team, but the district refused to enlist anyone's help. At the end of 2015, we were finally able to get the school district to have an outside behavior therapy agency evaluate our daughter and the staff. She offered some great strategies for the staff to aid them in redirecting our daughter. She even offered to help the staff modify the curriculum for the next 4 weeks to see if that would help diminish the negative behaviors. The special education director refused her help. But the real surprise at this meeting occurred when the special education director stated that, despite Hiba making wonderful friends and reaching all her academic goals, the district intends on placing her back in a segregated self-contained classroom next year in middle school. She cited behavior concerns as their reason to separate Hiba from her peers. Needless to say, we are not in agreement with this placement, and will go back to fighting for our daughter's legal rights to be taught in the least restrictive environment alongside her typical peers with proper accommodations and supports. We need your help again to make this a reality for Hiba. If she is placed in a self-contained classroom with 3 other kids with various disabilities, we know she will just regress and all the progress she has made this year, the beautiful friendships she has made, and the academic accomplishments she has achieved will be lost. We cannot let that happen. It is important to note that there is another child with Down Syndrome who has been fully included in this same school district, first in elementary school and now at the same middle school Hiba is going to next year. We don't understand why the district is including this child, but refuses to include our daughter. It just shows that our daughter is being discriminated against. Please sign and share this petition with everyone you know so Hadley Middle School in Glen Ellyn knows it is not OK to discriminate against a child just because of her having Down Syndrome. Below is the original petition we started last year: "The first thing you might notice about our daughter Hiba is that she has Down syndrome. But to those who know her, Hiba is a beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate 9 year old. She loves math and her favorite show is “Doc McStuffins.” If you ask Hiba what she wants to be when she grows up, she will tell you "a doctor." This is not surprising considering how much she loves helping people. As her parents, we see a child with all the potential of any other child. Unfortunately, her school system has kept Hiba segregated from other students and it has taken its toll on her education and spirit. All they seem to see is a child with Down syndrome. Down syndrome does not define our daughter. We are asking Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba her legal right to be fully integrated and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary. For the past 5 years, Hiba’s education has been spent in isolated, 1-on-1 settings. It has been painful to watch Hiba not be responsive to this education approach. She has become depressed, withdrawn, and as a result, hasn’t performed well in her studies. Hiba knows she is being treated differently and separated from the “normal” kids. Districts across the US have diversified the classroom to include both children with disabilities and those considered “typical” for the past few decades. Education research and organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society endorse full inclusion in education settings. This approach would allow Hiba to be fully integrated into the general education classroom with her “typical” peers the entire school day. She would be learning the same things, but with a modified lesson plan, technology support, and 1:1 aide in the classroom.  This plan would be developed by a well-known inclusion specialist. We know this is the best approach for Hiba. Educational inclusion won’t just benefit Hiba. When children with disabilities are educated alongside their “typical” peers, research shows academic and social benefits for everyone. True acceptance of diversity begins in the school environment. It is then carried out in the home, workplace, and community. Glen Ellyn School District 41 insists this is not the best approach for Hiba. They point to how she has behaved and performed in the isolated classroom. School officials can’t see these are symptoms of being segregated and exactly why Hiba belongs in a classroom with her "typical" peers. This is why we started the petition. We need you to help Hiba get in a classroom setting where she will thrive. Your voice can make all the difference. Our dream is for Hiba to be afforded all the same opportunities as everyone else so she can achieve her full potential and be a kind, active member of society. Please sign and share our petition calling on Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba to be fully included and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary."

Saadia Qureshi
18,220 supporters
Started 10 months ago

Petition to Wellesley College

Wellesley Voices for Disability

Dear President Johnson, I extend my warmest welcome to you for joining the Wellesley family. Along with many others, I am excited about the change that you will bring. I love this family and do not know how to repay the kindness of my dearest professors. But like all families, we are not without problems. I wish to speak to you from a community of Wellesley students who do not always have the physical and emotional energy to fight for our rights, a group of students whose Wellesley experiences bring tears to my eyes. I too, belong in this family of more than 300 students registered through the college for disability services. My name is Connie Chen and I was once the Class of 2014. I was the one my hallmate called “disgusting” because I threw up every morning; the one carried to my first year writing course by my mother because my legs were paralyzed, because the professor would not allow more medical absences; the one who went to class shocked because another student suffered the same and showed up with an IV in her hand; the one who was being “unfair to the other students” by asking for an extension; the one whose sickness professors did not believe; the one whose professor sent campus police to check on to see if I was lying; the one who was on chemo but just not bald—just yet. After my paralysis and hospitalization, my chemistry professor, who was aware of my health, did not offer any help. Before a long line of waiting students at the office hour, I was told that I am not cut out for being premed, that I should just drop the course, and my lupus condition was openly discussed. That semester I vowed to do nothing but chemistry. I finished the course with an A- but my health deteriorated rapidly and I was forced to take a leave of absence.  Unfortunately, I am not alone in sharing these frustrations on campus. In Spring 2013, I founded Wellesley Voices for Disability (WVD), a student organization to advocate for students and faculties living with disabilities. One WVD member and friend who submitted an article for our newsletter even experienced blackmail from the administration and asked me to retract the article. There are many who do not wish to share their stories for fear of not graduating. Still we believed in our cause and we worked as hard as we could. But most of us live with disabilities. And despite the perseverance of our board, we could only do so much. We were not recognized as an official student organization so we had to fundraise on our own. I designed Wellesley iPhone cases and keyboard covers and we were blessed to raise enough to give away an iPad for a disability trivia. But only one student showed up. We need help. We need allies to fight with us and for us. We need you on our side and I beg you to speak out for us. I have begged President Bottomly and now I beg you. I simply cannot live with the idea that many in the classes coming after me will suffer silently.  I do not believe that everyone speaks with the intention to hurt us. Many are just not aware of our aches and pains. And we need a larger platform to share our stories. When I spoke with Professor Simon Grote of the History Department, he suggested sensitivity training for faculties from students like me. I could not agree more but I feel strongly that this must be brought to campus-wide attention just like LGBTQ equality and all the other issues Wellesley has faced together. I am willing to speak openly and contribute in any way that I can. Thank you for your time and consideration, Blessings, Connie Chen, Class of 2017

Connie Chen
849 supporters