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The History of the Law and Children with Disabilities

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Maria Peterson

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of The History of the Law and Children with Disabilities

The History of the Law and Children with Disabilities
Chapter 3

Educational Rights

United States education is viewed as a birthright...
...education is not mentioned in the Constitution?

The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
requires that the powers are reserved
to the states;
education becomes
the responsibility of the states!

Today's Objectives
Define educational rights of children with disabilities
Discuss early exclusion of students with disabilities
Exclusion of Students with Disabilities
Watson v. City of Cambridge (1893)

Beattie v. Board of Education (1919)

Cuyahoga County Court Appeals in Ohio (1934)

Department of Public Welfare (1958)

State of North Carolina (1969)
Poll Time!
Add in question here

The White House Conferences of 1910

- focused national attention on children and youth with disabilities

- led to increased interest in education children with disabilities in public school settings rather than institutionalization

- segregated classes were formed in public schools to meet needs

From what we know now, what are the many issues with segregated (exclusionary) classes?
How Did These Cases Begin A Movement Towards Equality?
Compulsory Education
What does that mean?
- Massachusetts (1st state)
- Vermont
- ALL States

However, children with disabilities were still
from public schools

Equality for Children and Youth with Disabilities

Watson v. City of Cambridge (1893)

Beattie v. Board of Education (1919)
Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals in Ohio (1934)
Department of Public Welfare v. Haas (1958)
State of North Carolina (1969)
Civil Rights Movement & Brown v. Board of Education
Organization of Advocacy Groups

1933- five mothers of children with mental retardation banded together to protest exclusion; it resulted in the establishment of a special class for their children sponsored by the parents themselves.
1922- Council for Exceptional Children
1950- National Association for Retarded Citizens (now ARC/USA)
...and many, many, more!

- The Civil Rights Movement sought changes in society that would allow equal opportunities to minorities

- Brown v. Board of Education decided that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment
Advocates for students with disabilities cited the Brown case and claimed that students with disabilities had the same rights as students without disabilities!
There were a series of court cases brought forth...

Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Pennsylvania (1972)

Mills v. Board of Education (1972
Great websites:




1. Get into groups (5 per group)

2. Discuss the topic given to you with your group

3. Look at your questions; Each member will each choose a question to respond to

3. Scan the QR code (everyone in your group)

4. Create your name including your topic and the question # (e.g. John_Beattie_3) and click 'Join'

5. Respond to your question

6. Be prepared to discuss briefly

Compulsory Education
refers to...

...a period of education that is required of every person.
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts supported a school committee's exclusion of a student who was mentally retarded
Student was excluded because he was too "weak minded" to profit from instruction
School records indicated that this student was "troublesome"
Court explained that if disorderly acts interfered with the operation of the school (whether committed voluntarily or because of "imbecility" that the school should be able to exclude the offender without being overruled by the jury who lack in expertise of educational matters.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld the exclusion of a student with a form of paralysis
The student had normal IQ levels but because of his condition would drool and make facial contortions
Excluded from school after grade 5 because school officials claimed that his physical appearance nauseated teachers and other students, that his condition required a great amount of teacher time, and that he had a negative impact on the other students and their progress of school
School officials suggested a days school, but the student and parents refused
Board refused to reinstate the student maintaining that his right to attend public schools was not absolute when his presence was harmful to the best interests of others.
Ruled that the state statute mandating compulsory attendance for children ages 6-18 gave the state dept. of education the authority to exclude certain students
The court stated that the student had the right to attend, noting the importance of education as evidenced by the compulsory education statute
However, it did not rule to resolve this conflict
Supreme Court of Illinois held that the state's existing compulsory attendance legislation did not require the state to provide a free and appropriate public education for the "feeble minded" or children who were "mentally deficient"
Because of their limited intelligence, these students were unable to reap the benefits of a good education
The state allowed exclusion of children the believed
(a) wouldn't benefit from education
(b) were disruptive
(c) feeble minded or mentally deficient
During this period of time, children with disabilities were considered incurably sick and frequently institutionalized often making them barred from public education and excluded from society
Parental Advocacy
The parental advocacy movement reflected changes in the social climate of the country!

Focus on humane treatment for ALL individuals (particularly children)
If time allows:
Discuss the beginning movement of equality for individuals with disabilities
Presentation prepared for Texas A&M San Antonio
Turn of the 20th century
Full transcript