Bullying has gained the attention of the media over recent years, but despite the focused spotlight, bullying is rampant in our society. Among the easiest targets are children with special needs. They are, on average, at a greater risk to be bullied than their non-disabled counterparts. This is in part because special education children make easy targets. It is often harder for children with disabilities to recognize which behaviors are socially appropriate and those that are not.
Many organizations are stepping up to the challenge of educating the community and parents on the complex issues surrounding bullying of students with disabilities. The Stratford Special Education Teacher and Parent Association recently held a presentation on “Bullying of Students with Disabilities.” The presentation focused on how to help schools avoid litigation stemming from the targeting of children with special education needs. The hope is to set up systems in schools that address bullying before it becomes a problem.
Interestingly, the presentation also focused on teaching parents how to work with the school system to effectively develop plans to prevent harassment of their children. It is important that parents work with school administrators to develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that encourages students to learn, develop self-advocacy, and social and life skills necessary to reduce disability related harassment.
In addition to parents and school administrators working together to reduce and bring awareness to bullying and its drastic effects, it is also important to be familiar with the laws that protect children with disabilities. At Maya Murphy, P.C., we have experience dealing with Education Law, harassment or bullying, Special Education Law, and discrimination.
By Leigh H. Ryan, Esq.
If you have any questions regarding bullying of students with disabilities, or any education law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.