The US Department of Justice’s investigation showed that the state of Georgia was illegally segregating students with disabilities. This problem was present for a long time, as it led to at least one case of suicide among children ten years ago (RBS NewsHour, 2015). The student was kept in a seclusion room for solitary confinement for more than two weeks in a month and decided to take his life. This case showed that segregation and discrimination could lead to severe outcomes.
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The possible state’s rationale for this practice could be that schools’ authorities did not know how to approach behavioral issues in children. In 1970, Georgia launched the program known as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS); it aimed at helping students who would otherwise require restrictive placements (Georgia Department of Education, 2019). However, the GNETS did not provide therapeutic measures; it only separated children with disabilities from other learners.
Segregation could lead to severe mental health and behavioral problems in students. It could damage their self-esteem and self-identification, as well as make them feel guilty and ashamed of their disorders. Moreover, discrimination could lead to feelings of fear, anger, and distrust in people. Children with disabilities were not allowed to participate in many activities with other students, but they were unlikely to understand the reason for it.
To address this issue, the state of Georgia might develop educational programs for teachers and schools’ authorities regarding mental health and behavioral disorders. It is crucial to teach educators how to approach children with disabilities, as well as raise their awareness of the challenges they encounter. Such an approach could minimize segregation and discrimination, helping all students to live a normal life.
Georgia Department of Education. (2019). Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS). Web.
RBS NewsHour. (2015). Georgia segregates kids with disabilities, behavior problems. Web.