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Contact: Pat McConahay, Communications Director
Disability Rights California
(Sacramento, CA – September 1, 2017) The Fremont School District (FUSD) has agreed to provide and promote more inclusion opportunities for medically fragile students with similarly aged peers. Students in these programs require intensive specialized instruction, medical and therapeutic services. Disability Rights California (DRC) received reports that the district did not allow students between the ages of 12 and 22 to attend school with peers their own age who do not have a disability.
DRC conducted two monitoring visits to FUSD schools. During the visits DRC observed that the district program was serving students aged 5 through 22 in the same program at the elementary school site. There was little difference in the curriculum from one grade level to the next. Older students were deprived of opportunities to be educated alongside their same-aged peers.
Inclusion of students with disabilities with their same-aged peers is extremely beneficial for the school community as a whole. Students with disabilities learn age-appropriate skills from peer models, and all students benefit by the opportunity to experience diversity and develop sensitivity towards people with disabilities.
After DRC brought its concerns to the district’s attention, FUSD agreed to split its medically fragile classroom into two programs. One program would remain on the current elementary school site and serve transitional students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In addition, the district agreed to create opportunities for students from the next door middle school to share programming and increase interaction between students with and without disabilities.
FUSD has created a second class for high school and transition-aged students with significant medical conditions and developmental delays at the high school; construction for the program is currently taking place. The district committed to providing age-appropriate services in both the elementary and secondary classrooms.
“DRC applauds FUSD’s willingness to embrace the inclusion of students with significant disabilities,” said Suge Lee, DRC attorney. “This could potentially create a model for integration of medically fragile students. We will continue to monitor the district’s programs to ensure a smooth transition.”
Disability Rights California is a non-profit organization founded in 1978 to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Check out our website (www.disabilityrightsca.org), Facebook and twitter @DisabilityCA.