In 2015, the state of Georgia was found to segregate children with behavioral problems and disabilities from their school peers. The state had a separate educational program for such children; approximately 5,000 were involved in it (RBS NewsHour, 2015). Within this program, children were excluded from their mainstream classes and activities with peers. The state’s possible rationale for this practice is that Georgia’s authorities believed that segregation of children with disabilities could have a positive impact on other students by protecting them from potential harm.
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The state even established the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS), potentially designed to support children with behavioral or emotional disorders (Brown, 2016). However, it is evident that the GNETS did not serve good causes, as it was discriminating against students with disabilities.
Segregation could be severely damaging for students with disabilities, as it could worsen their symptoms. Children had to be isolated from their peers and could not communicate with people of their age, engage in collaborative tasks and activities. It could deprive them of the opportunity to learn from their friends and feel loved and appreciated. Thus, segregation could aggravate their mental state and lead to further developmental problems.
The state of Georgia should reform the GNETS program and stop separating children with disabilities from their peers. The state’s authorities should distinguish between potentially harmful behaviors that could truly affect other students negatively and children’s actions that are not dangerous or obnoxious. Georgia may develop a separate program for students with severe conditions aimed at providing treatment and helping to integrate them into schools in the future. It is vital for the state not to “protect” children from their peers but to find ways to help individuals with disabilities.
Brown, E. (2016). Justice Department sues Georgia over segregation of students with disabilities. Web.
RBS NewsHour. (2015). Georgia segregates kids with disabilities, behavior problems. Web.