Smiling child

Special Education

Man Working with Disabled Youngster

Advocacy Issues

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) supports the right of children and young adults with disabilities to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). DRW confronts abuse and neglect in school settings, particularly where there is evidence of systemic problems affecting students in the following areas:

  • Inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint
  • Public school district over reliance on “Day Treatment Centers” as educational placements
  • Expulsion and other exclusion from school
  • Poor transition planning that does not foster independence
  • Failure to include children with disabilities in neighborhood schools and regular education settings
  • An over reliance on school-initiated criminal complaints against children with disabilities instead of providing them with appropriate services

Advocacy Strategies

DRW employs a combination of intervention and advocacy strategies in assisting clients in addressing the above problems. Strategies include:

  • Providing individual advocacy for students with disabilities who are suspended or expelled from school
  • Providing individual advocacy to students with disabilities who are not receiving appropriate transition services to live and work in their communities
  • Providing information and advice to parents of students with disabilities on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other laws that affect their children
  • Working to improve the involvement of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) in transition planning and outcomes
  • Coordinating and supporting parents’ groups who are working on reform of their local special education programs
  • Partnering with other advocacy groups who work on behalf of students with disabilities
  • Seeking ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in inner-city schools
  • Providing training to school district personnel on effective ways to include children in the least restrictive environment