What's New

Seclusion and Restraint bill to move forward

DRW is pleased to annouce that Sen. Luther Olsen has agreed to sponsor a bill to limit the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint on children in schools. He will circulate it for bi-partisan co-sponsors soon. This bill is a product of collaborative negotiations with DPI and the School Administrators Alliance. Click here to read the bill.

Wisconsin Disability Advocates Sound Alarm about Special Education Funding

Survival Coalition Makes Plea to U.S. Department of Education to Disallow Funding Reductions

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations representing more than 40 member groups issued a letter today urging the U.S. Dept. of Education to uphold the law and deny local Wisconsin School District requests to reduce special education funding.

The letter reiterates that current law allows sufficient flexibility for local school districts and underlines congressional protections that are intended to ensure students with disabilities are not harmed by funding reductions.

The Survival Coalition asked that Wisconsin not be granted additional flexibilities in response to the unfortunate choices it made to reduce public school funding by $1.6 billion. Advocates state that flexibility should not harm the most vulnerable students in our schools—those with disabilities.

Read the letter from the Survival Coalition to OSEP Director Melody Musgrove here: Local IDEA letter.

Read the letter from Wisconsin School Administrators to Congresswoman Gwen Moore here: Rep. Moore letter.

Education Week coverage of this story:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage of this story:

Education Budget Cuts-Parent Survey

The Wisconsin legislature cut $1.6 billion from the 2011-13 public education budget. Parents of children with disabilities have important information to share about how cuts may be impacting their children in their classrooms. If you have one or more children with disabilities attending public school in Wisconsin, you can participate in a short survey to collect this information: Education Budget Cuts Survey.

The survey asks for basic information about your child’s experience in school this year compared to last year. You will also be able to tell your child’s story in your own words. You can indicate that you want your answers included in the survey results anonymously. Or, you can give us your child’s first name. You also can supply a picture of your child for possible use in a report documenting any impacts budget cuts have had on Wisconsin public schools.

Please share this survey with other parents who have children with disabilities and with school staff and disability organizations that can disseminate it. We will publish survey results widely – with the general public, Governor, and legislators.

If you have any questions about the survey, please feel free to contact any of the survey sponsors toll-free:

- The Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) 888-332-1677
- Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) 800-928-8778
- Wisconsin FACETS 877-374-0511

Equal Justice Fund Tribute to Lynn Breedlove

In their recent annual dinner program, the Equal Justice Fund included a tribute to Lynn Breedlove. The Equal Justice Fund raises monies for 3 WI legal service providers: DRW, Legal Aid Society, and Legal Action of WI. Lynn has served on the Equal Justice Board since 1997. Click the following link to read the tribute: EJF Tribute to Lynn.

Lynn Breedlove receives Self-Determination Award

On November 9, Lynn Breedlove received the first Diehard Lifetime Achievement Award, “in recognition for distinguished service and a tireless commitment to self-determination.” The award was presented at the annual Self Determination Conference in Wisconsin Dells.

Congratulations, Lynn!

Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction responds to voucher discrimination complaint

The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) has issued a formal response to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, which is investigating the disability discrimination complaint which DRW brought with the ACLU against the Milwaukee Parental Choice (voucher) Program. You can read national converage of this story in this Huffington Post article: Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction responds to voucher discrimination complaint.

Click the following link for a post from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: State, civil rights group disagree about how voucher schools should adhere to disability rights laws.

Op Ed in Milwaukee Journal re: People with Disabilities and Employment

Barbara Beckert, DRW’s Milwaukee Office Director, wrote a compelling piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Click this link to read it: Disability and employment.

Public Meeting Notice For DHS Town Hall on Medicaid Initiatives

In an effort to gain public input from consumers, community partners and providers, the Department of Health Services is hosting a Town Hall meeting next Wednesday, October 19th from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Goodman Community Center. For details please click here: WI DHS Town Hall Meeting Notice – Madison – October 19.

For the Survival Coalition statement on the Medicaid Efficiencies Proposals, click here.

Announcing two new Violence Against Women with Disabilities and Deaf Women Project Resources available through DRW

CREATING SAFETY by Asking What Makes People Vulnerable? July 2011

Developed through the Violence Against Women with Disabilities and Deaf Women Project of Wisconsin and authored by Mark Sweet, Trainer and Consultant at Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW), this guide is a ground-breaking culmination of open thought, keen observation and practical understanding of how many people with disabilities experience human interactions and relationships designed to provide them support. While people who provide paid support or caregiving to individuals with disabilities are the primary audience for whom this guide was designed, for domestic and sexual violence advocates, human services workers, social workers or counselors, and even family members, the ideas broached and questions raised throughout this piece are important considerations for any of us who work with, support, advocate or love someone with a disability. Through exploring linkages among assertiveness, vulnerability, compliance models and imbalances of power in caregiving relationships, readers will begin to glimpse the often hidden reality of how these linkages make some individuals more vulnerable… more vulnerable to abuse.

Click here to download Creating Safety.

Victims/Survivors Who Use Service Animals: An Updated Background Paper and Sample Policy for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs September 2011
This booklet was originally developed and now updated by the Violence Against Women with Disabilities and Deaf Women Project of Wisconsin to assist domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, and other service organizations that have questions about addressing requests for service animals as a reasonable accommodation or modification for program participants with disabilities. People with disabilities use service animals to perform tasks related to their disabilities. The assistance these animals provide can lessen symptoms or help remove day-to-day barriers people with disabilities experience. This booklet is designed to inform organizations about the legal requirements and practical expectations when service animals are present within your agency and its programs. Learning about the legal requirements, developing your agency’s own service animal policy, and training staff to apply it consistently helps to alleviate potential liability issues — for both illegal discrimination and presence of an animal on-site.

Click here to download the Service Animal guide.

DSC National Week of Action on School Pushout

We are very pleased to announce that the DSC National Week of Action on School Pushout is almost here!

Throughout the week of October 1-8, 2011, thousands of parents, youth, and educators will participate in student-led actions and events in 27 cities to expose the school pushout crisis in our nation and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The events and actions will include street theater, public forums, rallies, restorative justice trainings, and more.

Make sure to check out our DSC Week of Action promo video!

You can get involved with the DSC Week of Action in your area!