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October 9, 2007

Special school or segregation?

Amy Hetzner:

"Here, he is totally independent," said Witt, whose family moved to LaGrange a year ago. "He just fits, and he's loving that."

Witt's interpretation bumps up against a more traditional definition of special-education law that, for the last three decades, has caused massive changes in how students with disabilities are educated, including the setting where they receive their instruction.

It's that definition, which contends that disabled students should learn alongside non-disabled classmates as often as possible, that has prompted an ongoing lawsuit challenging the future of Lakeland School.

Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick, managing attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, casts his group's case against the school as a modern-day Brown vs. Board of Education. "Separate is not equal, and it certainly is not better," said Spitzer-Resnick, whose group sued the Walworth County Board of Supervisors to prevent a new, larger home for Lakeland.

Students with disabilities who are taught separately miss the kind of social networking that helps them land jobs and become full members of their communities, Spitzer-Resnick said.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at October 9, 2007 12:00 AM
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