Petition to LTG Kenneth R. Dahl, Commanding General, IMCOM, Thom Tillis
Don't take respite care away for military families with special needs children
The U.S. armed forces have an amazing program called the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The EMFP helps families with special needs children gain access to respite care professionals. The program has helped alleviate some of the stress and strain for parenting a special needs child by allowing parents to take time to clear their minds, recharge, and be the best parents they can be for their child. But this program is now under budgetary threat. Losing access to this program would force families into the financially difficult position of relying on civilian programs and providers. But the unique circumstances of military families make relying on civilian programs and support providers that much more precarious. Sometimes, military families are living on bases in rural areas where it is difficult to find service providers for our special needs children. Additionally, military families often rotate from base to base every 3 to 5 years -- forcing a family to essentially “start-over” with each new assignment. I don’t say this to complain. This is what we sign up for and we are proud to serve our country. But our families need the support this military program provides. Budget cuts have slowly eroded the program’s availability across the armed forces for all but the most severely disabled children. And now these budget cuts are due to hit Army families in June 2017 -- despite that fact the the Army has the largest number of families with children on the autism spectrum. We are begging Congress to please not balance the budget on the backs of the families who need this respite care program the most. Please sign and share this petition. It’s important to let Congress know that military families need all the support they can get -- and military families with special needs children require this support so much more!
Petition to Mitch McConnell, John Thune, Orrin Hatch, Ted Cruz, John Barrasso, John Cornyn, Lamar Alexander, Mike Enzi, Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee
JAWONIO JOINS VOICES ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SAVE MEDICAID
A Society is Judged by How it CARES for it's MOST VULNERABLE PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION ON ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMAIL TO ALL NETWORKS.#SAVEMEDICAID For children, adults and their families with mental health challenges and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities the $800 billion cut to Medicaid will be devastating. Please stand with our vulnerable community and let your senators know you care. Medicaid funding for community supports, in-home services and habilitation is what replaced living in institutions for many people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Recovery services, addiction programs and peer support is what keeps those with mental health issues alive. So while Medicaid block grants and budget cuts are a nightmare to people with disabilities and their families, they don't even make sense at a fiscal level. Medicaid Saves Lives!! #PROTECTOURCARE Please ask your Senators right now to do the right thing and not decimate health care through support of the House bill.
Petition to George Arlotto, Members
Clean and Clear drinking water for Students and Staff
The available drinking water supply at these schools in Pasadena, MD Anne Arundel County is not palatable. Chesapeake Bay Middle School, High School, Bodkin Elementary, and Fort Smallwood Elementary water is supplied by well water. This water is always discolored, often has floating specs of debris and an odor despite the recent filtration system put in. Students and staff will not drink the water. Students bring their own water to school but have no where to refill it with clear and clean drinkable water. Can you tell the difference in the water in the bottles shown here? Would you drink this water? The discolored water was drawn from the sink at Chesapeake Bay Middle School in Pasadena, MD at the end of the day after 1100+ students and staff washed hands, flushed toilets, and made meals. Students at the school will tell you to take some water from the morning, it will be more brown. This is a health and wellness issue. Water makes up over 60% of our bodies. Centers for Disease Control states even mild dehydration can affect a child's mood and cognitive functioning. It affects the GI, Kidney, Heart, and skin. It can impair performance and short-term memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking and psychomotor skills. Staying hydrated is also important for mental health concerns. Anxiety and many other disorders can deplete water from the body and cause electrolyte imbalance that can cause many symptoms from fatigue, headaches, to seizures. Chesapeake Bay Middle and High School also house the special education Regional Program school for the county. Many students of the Regional program suffer from social and emotional challenges, anxiety and other mental health disorders. All students and staff at these two schools and the elementary school have the right to have clean and clear drinking water available to them for their health and wellbeing like all other county schools have. The cost of replenishing water coolers runs about $5 per 5 gallon container of water. If 50 containers were needed per month, the yearly cost for one school would be about $2,250 per school. That is minimal amount within a $1.17 Billion budget. Our children deserve the same health and wellness afforded to them free of headaches and illnesses, and with the opportunity of increased cognitive ability as other school children in one of the "top school systems in the country". The people of the Pasadena Community demand the county provide funding to continually replenish water coolers with clean and clear palatable drinking water.
Petition to U.S. Senate, Chris Smith, Maxine Waters, Michael F. Doyle, U.S. House of Representatives
Prevent Wandering Related Tragedies- Support Kevin & Avonte's Law for the Autism Community
Every special child deserves safety. Much to our dismay, after months of waiting and anticipation, Kevin and Avonte’s Law was not signed into law before the Senate’s last session of 2016. The bill is crucial for special needs families whose loved ones are prone to wandering. Each year the number of tragic, preventable wandering deaths rises - our community deserves safety!This bill, which is now back to square one in terms of the legislative process, aims to protect individuals with special needs from the dangers of wandering by allocating funds to train first responders and to provide parents with GPS tracking devices.How will Kevin and Avonte’s Law keep our children safe?This legislation is an extension of an existing law which protects Alzheimer patients prone to wandering. Kevin and Avonte’s Law will ensure schools and law enforcement agencies get the necessary funding needed to train first responders to deal with wandering incidents.The law will also make funding available for GPS tracking solutions, which many families must pay for out of pocket, to ensure wandering incidents don’t end in tragedy.Why didn’t the bill pass?Addressing privacy concerns, the bill underwent last minute changes. The new version of the bill allows the use of tracking devices for purposes other than locating people that have wandered, such as tracking people to prevent them from harming others. Also, it became clear that funds allocated under this law would deplete funding for existing community programs instead of allocating a new budget. The bill in its new wording had to go back to the Senate for reconsideration and did not pass. What can we do? Share your support for Kevin and Avonte’s Law! Contact your representatives and urge them to support this necessary law to protect our citizens with special needs. Sign and share this petition, help spread the word, together our voices will be heard.
Petition to Senator Teresa Ruiz, Commissioner Kimberly Harrington, Christopher Cerf
End Colocation Now!
Parents and community members are working together to Say No to the expansion of Seek Academy Charter School inside George Washington Carver! It wasn’t until June 2017 after the final day of school that space inside George Washington Carver was compromised without parents, community members, and the public being notified. In fact, the Newark Public School Advisory Board had no knowledge of this illegal move. Please understand that there is a process in which individuals must follow in order to use space in any public facility.The conversion of public space for private use is ILLEGAL! Parents and Community Members of George Washington Carver and Bruce Street School for the Deaf need your help! Bruce Street School has been a program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 100 years and now students and families are being directly affected as a result of the current illegal expansion of Seek Academy. We urge the Newark Public School District, Senator Theresa Ruiz, and Commissioner Kimberley Harrington, to halt any and all colocations in Newark Traditional Public Schools: Halt any and all negotiations that excludes the parents, educators, and the community of Traditional Public SchoolsAvailable space must be used for students of Traditional Public Schools with overcrowded classroomsConduct ROBO calls regarding school information in a timely manner to parents and the publicParents, community members, and educators must be present during any and all decisions being made regarding Newark Traditional Public Schools You can help us by reading, signing, and sharing the petition provided... End Colocation Now!
Petition to Plattsburgh School District
NYS Special Needs Children Deserve A Proper Education
NYS special needs children are being given up on! Because, they are to hard to handle? These children are being mistreated by our school systems and are being discriminated against! Leaving parents frustrated and in tears! ALL CHILDREN no matter what the case, deserve a proper education! How will this affect our children later in life? Teachers giving up on these children and not trying other ways to handle them!.. This, I believe will lower our childrens self-esteem and not push to try because they feel they are not good enough. Children are our future and deserve to get a proper education without being discriminated for being "special"! Please, help me to stand up to our schools and teachers and say "enough is enough"
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 Defend Special Education at GRPS
In 2017, there have been many changes and situations (listed below) which, in TOTAL, signal the downward slide 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. 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 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. 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. [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.]