One parent to another : protecting the educational rights of our children

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


While looking at special education law and the systems on behalf of my child, I looked for ways to protect him. I often questioned who exactly works to enforce the special education laws out there. What are those laws and what do they mean for special education children? I sought out a system of checks and balances that work to ensure that violators of the civil rights of children are held accountable. What I found was that although there is a system of checks and balances between the local, state, and federal systems, these systems are not free of the politics that control their laws. These systems have not proven themselves as advocates for civil rights, protectors of children, or even enforcers of laws. It has been disconcerting at the very least to find out that the systems set up to provide procedural safeguards and equality in public education operate in a manner that discriminates against those whom they are intended to protect. My conclusion consists of four parts. First, parents have no choice but to hold their school districts accountable by learning laws and regulations themselves. With knowledge, they have the ability to educate the educators on what laws they are responsible to follow. Second, with the documentation in this thesis, there is no other conclusion to be made other than the following: either due process hearings need to be made equal and fair for every parent or every parent has to be provided a feasible option to acquire a lawyer. Third, there needs to be solid training of regular education teachers, principals, and administrators with specific education on disability, especially invisible disabilities, and special needs sensitivity courses. These courses should concentrate specifically on children with special needs in a regular education setting, student, teacher (and adult) bullying, and disability discrimination. Last, there needs to be recognition by parents, educators and the general public of the correlation between civil rights and disability, this realization is needed in order to prevent further discrimination. Until we begin treating their civil rights with care, we will continue to harm children with special needs.

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