Champions for Children with Disabilities
Paid for with private funds
Part of PACER Center’s commitment to children with disabilities includes ensuring that the state and federal laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities remain strong. PACER works in coalition with other disability organizations to support special education laws and other related legislation.
PACER Legislative Priorities
The federal special education law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). PACER publishes materials and provides workshops on IDEA to inform parents and professionals of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
PACER Day at the Capitol: “Be A Champion”
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Veterans Services Building
5th Floor Conference Room, 20 12th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55155 (St. Paul - see Map)
Parents of children with disabilities will have their voices heard in St. Paul, Minn., on ‘PACER Day at the Capitol’ Thursday, March 19. Participants will attend a dynamic workshop led by advocacy and education leaders and legislators to hear about potential legislation affecting special education, education funding, school discipline, mental health, and bullying prevention.
Parents will learn how to effectively share their stories, and enjoy a pizza lunch before meeting with their state legislators.
Working for Change Using the Power of Personal Story
When parents try to improve services for all children with disabilities, not just their own child,—this is called advocating for systems change. This webinar will explain how parents of children with disabilities can help change systems by telling their own personal stories. By sharing a personal story with the right people, parents can help improve services and supports for children with disabilities and their families.
Please contact your state legislators and urge them to vote for the Coalition for Children’s with Disabilities Bills on School Discipline and Paraprofessional Disability Specific Training.
School Discipline: Develop and support legislation limiting use of extreme disciplinary measures for all students.
Zero tolerance policies and extreme discipline measures (suspensions, expulsions, use of law enforcement) have been shown to be ineffective in changing behavior and are disproportionately used with students of color and students with disabilities. The Coalition will work to enact legislation that will: require schools to exhaust strategies for re-engaging students before suspension, expulsion, or police involvement is utilized; expand the use of positive behavior interventions; ensure that students who are suspended have continued opportunity to make academic progress; and require schools to notify parents if police become involved or a student is taken to a police station.
Disability Specific Training: Require disability-specific training for paraprofessionals to decrease the occurrence and impact of disruptive behaviors.
Paraprofessionals who are unfamiliar with the disabilities of the children with whom they work often unintentionally escalate a child’s disruptive behaviors. The Coalition will work to enact legislation that will require schools to provide disability-specific training to paraprofessionals that will allow them to better understand and positively address students' behavioral and educational needs and lessen or avoid disruptive behaviors.
Find the contact information for your state senator here: Who Represents Me?