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A matter of rights for the handicapped.

A Matter of Rights for the Handicapped

Handicapped children now have the right to equal education throughout the land. The Supreme Court ruled that a school district must provide a program for all handicapped children -- even those believed unable to benefit from education.

School boards and administrators, joined by organizations and local government officials, had argued that forcing public schools to provide medical and custodial care for extremely handicapped children would divert millions of scarce educational dollars from children who can learn.

One such disgruntled official is Gwendolyn H. Gregory, deputy general counsel to the National School Boards Association. "Our real concern," she said, "is that as a precedent this can apply to most handicapped kids." She anticipates the possibility that parents will require psychotherapy and nursing care for the crippled children.

Judge Hugh H. Bowles, a judge in the federal appeals court at Rochester, New York, recently ruled that the U.S. Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 meant what it says:

"Public education is to be provided to all handicapped children, unconditionally and without exception," he wrote. "It encompasses a universal right, and is not predicated upon any type of guarantees that the child will benefit from the special education and services before he or she is considered eligible to receive such an education."

Does society have the moral right to decide who deserves to use our educational system? Regardless of the burden upon a community's financial resources, is there a question of equality at stake?

Many people who have no children in the public school system are compelled to pay taxes. Others, like those who pay tuition to parochial and private schools, are taxed for the upkeep of public institutions.

It is therefore understood that whether children use the public educational facilities or not, their tax-paying parents and others are legally responsible for public support.

Because courts have now guaranteed the rights of all children to have access to services made possible by mandatory taxes, it will no longer be possible for administrators in the public school system to discriminate against the handicapped or determine eligibility arbitrarily.
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Title Annotation:public schools must provide programs for all handicapped children
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:352
Previous Article:Violating nature's laws.
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