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Study: Many disabled students at risk due to school suspensions

Individuals dealing with some form of physical or mental disability face a lot of challenges in day to day life. That's one reason why Social Security disability benefits are available to those who are eligible for them, and why so many choose to press their claims with the help of an attorney when benefits are denied. Those benefits represent a significant lifeline for many in California.

The challenges for disabled individuals can be traced to all sorts of sources. But there is one group of experts that says one of the last places anyone should face hurdles in overcoming their issues is at school. Unfortunately, this group says, that's just what many disabled students face because they are suspended at disproportionately high rates.

The experts, calling themselves the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, issued a report last week saying that students who are disabled, as well as those who happen to be of color, are suspended at rates far out of the norm when compared to white students.

The panel is made up of 26 recognized experts in the fields of law, education and social sciences. They looked at federal data that traced suspensions in the 2009-2010 school year. What they found was that more than 3 million students faced suspensions. That's double what was typical in the 1970s. The research also showed that disabled children were suspended almost twice as often as others.

The collaborative says such forms of discipline didn't do much to curb bad behavior or improve academic performance by so-called "good" children. What suspensions did do, the group says, is result in disabled youngsters facing higher risks of educational disengagement, dropping out and becoming caught up in juvenile justice systems.

In light of the findings, the group says schools should focus efforts on prevention -- solving the problems that lead to disciplinary issues in the first place.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Suspensions Place Kids With Disabilities At Risk, Report Finds," Shaun Heasley, March 17, 2014

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