Sunday, November 10, 2013

‘P.J.’ lawyer says Connecticut backsliding on special education

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo
Investigations Editor
While a judge concluded the state has substantially complied with a landmark agreement that called for students with intellectual disabilities to spend more time with their non-disabled peers, those who originally filed the lawsuit are appealing to a higher court, claiming the state is backsliding and more needs to be done.
Decades ago, intellectually disabled students were typically taught in separate classrooms, with little interaction with non-disabled students.
That changed with the class-action lawsuit known as the “P.J. case.”
Attorney David Shaw of Bloomfield, who represented “P.J.” — Patrick Jordan of West Hartford — and the other plaintiffs, said many of these students are doing well today, learning to read and thriving.
According to Shaw, the P.J. case made positive changes — by changing attitudes and resulting in better education for intellectually disabled students.
“But some schools still have the same idea that they should be in a separate class,” Shaw said. “Children are frequently unnecessarily segregated.”
“I think it is an embarrassment to the state to make so much progress and then go backwards. Did they really mean to change?”

Read the full story here.

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