Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, at one time criticized a law helping children with disabilities enter the mainstream in the public schools system.
DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
It was May 2000 when Sessions took this issue senate floor and make a long speech on the well-known Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, making the argument that protections by the federal government for disabled students was a cause for the failing of public schools in the United States.
CIVILITY AND DISCIPLINE
“We have created a complex system of federal regulations and laws that have created lawsuit after lawsuit, special treatment for certain children and that are a big factor in accelerating the decline in civility and discipline in classrooms all over America. I say that very sincerely,” Sessions said.
The full statement Session made can still be found at his website, as well as others in an complete series of remarks that are inflammatory on many of the social policy widely accepted and could obfuscate the nomination for Session being the top United States law enforcer. This Alabama Republican has made the claim that almost no one coming from Dominican Republic to the U.S. adds value to our society.
Other comments that are controversial go as far back as 1986. He at that time was not approved as a ‘federal judgeship’ over claims that he’d made racist remarks and had stated that NAACP was “un-American.” Sessions rejects being a racist as well as some of his current associates ― including one Democratic Senator ― have stated they would OK his bid for attorney general.
AGAINST SCHOOL EQUALITY
Sessions’ remarks about those students who have disabilities are from his experience as attorney general for Alabama. It was during the middle ‘90s, Sessions was against school equality when a judge made a ruling on approximately 30 of state’s poorer school districts that sought these reforms being up held. The case wasted away in courts while advocates for the disabled were troubled that the school systems that were the poorest did not have the money to fund even the bare basics for those students with special needs, stated in a New York Times article. The case finally concluded in 1997 when Sessions won his seat in the senate.
In this speech to Congress, Sessions made mention of letters he got from Alabama educators to use in the argument that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was stopping teachers from properly disciplining disruptive or troubled students. Rather than creating a classroom that is comforting, he asserted, it was only causing chaos and disorder. “We have children we cannot control because of this federal law,” he said.
In additional, Sessions stated that these federal safeguards “may be the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today.”
This law, legislated in 1975, guards children who had disabilities from the school administrators Sessions mentioned. It legislated that schools contribute to disabled students an education in a common classroom when it is possible, and the parents of these children were encouraged to have must closer involvement in their child’s education. This legislation, at various times been reformed, is accredited with offering millions of disabled children with a mainstream public education.
Sessions’ floor statement disregarded the opinions of education supporters in his state and throughout the country who made the statement that they needed the protection from federal policies as well as the threat of going to court to get fair treatment for these children. Parents are required to seek remedies in court for those schools that refused to conform to these laws. Alabama still struggles with the problems of sufficiently teaching these students.
HEARTLESS AND MISGUIDED
Candace Aylor, a parent advocate and appointee to Texas’ health commission’s Behavioral Health Advisory Committee, referred to Sessions’ comments as “heartless and misguided.”
“If he doesn’t recognize the need for schools to be required to provide a free and appropriate public education to all students regardless of disability what kind of society does he intend for us to live in?” she said. “What should we do? Should we put them in asylums again? How far back in history should we go? Are they not worthy? Are they defective in his mind?”
A spokesperson for Trump’s transition didn’t return request for comment. Sessions’ remarks from 2000 might put him far outside mainstream positions when it comes to safeguards for troubled or disabled children. But his nominator, Trump, notoriously mocked a reporter with disabilities during his run for president.