Don't isolate kids with disabilities -- Michelle Dunphy

Don't isolate kids with disabilities -- Michelle Dunphy

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I am alarmed that the Madison School Board voted on Monday to spend $4 million on a facility for special-needs programming.

Over 30 years of research on special-needs education has shown that segregating students is detrimental to their development. While a full-time inclusive classroom may not be right for every student, being around peers is crucial to social-emotional development. I firmly believe in the idea, “Nothing about us, without us.”

The disabled community and parents of affected or potentially affected children should be a large part of this conversation. From the statements I have seen, it is clear to me that the community is not in favor of this decision at this time. Also, where there is a lack of transparency, there is distrust.

Our School Board needs to pause, step back and create a transparent decision-making process that includes the disabled community to find a viable solution that isn’t just best for the district, but is best for the children that they serve.

Michelle Dunphy, Madison

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