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Deaf mother goes before Hillsborough County School District Board to advocate for son's necessary services. The 8th largest school district in the country has an operating budget of $ 3 billion. Despite being notified in advance of her attendance, the district was unable to provide any access .
"If we were to go back to the 1960s and we were to talk to those leaders who were vehemently against desegregation, we would hear the conviction in their voices of them stating why they believe their decisions and what they were doing to those children were just. Just as I believe that some of you and some of the board members that have spoken believe that their decisions are just. But, I fear that the Hillsborough County School Board is standing on the wrong side of history."
"Equal access, level playing field, dignity, respect for my son and all his community. No separate classrooms separate doors or isolation from others. See I’m a woman of color. When I began my education you could still see the Colored Only bathrooms in the Deep South. If you put my son in one room and say he is not good enough to be where the law says he should be, with his peers, then red flags of segregation fly up at me. Many parents of color feel the wrongness of it organically, but they have been convinced that their neurodiverse children are not good enough for their neighborhood school and that their children are a distraction or threat to typical children in some way. The different operating system in their child’s brain throws them off, particularly when maladaptive behaviors are in the mix. It leaves them feeling guilty, helpless, afraid their kids will come to harm, and they listen to anyone, even if their gut tells them the advice is unjust. I am and advocate of Universal Design for Learning. I think my son can be with his peers in age as well as ability and everyone can benefit." Kerima Cevik
"It means living in a society that embraces the diversity of human beings. It means inclusion is a way of life and manifests itself in every aspect of our culture, from the schools and education, to the work place and everything in between… It means paradise!" Ariane Zurcher
Sara Winter answers our Change Leader Questionairre. Sara is the founder of Squag™ - a wonderful curated, online space that offers kids on the autism spectrum as well as other disabilities (and their siblings) a safe, beautiful corner of the web.
"I fought for him to remain in the classroom, I fought for him to attend his neighborhood school. I did not have to fight for him to be fully included, because Principal Vince Sussman at Plant High School knew that students with disabilities have value, have worth."
Change Leader Marianne Russo of The Coffee Klatch Special Needs Talk Radio answers our questions. We talk to her about why she started the Coffee Klatch interactive network and she answers our Ollibean Questionairre.