Complaint yields new program for students with disabilities
Durham Public Schools soon will launch a new program to provide improved educational services for students with disabilities serving short-term suspensions.
The program is a response to a complaint filed by Advocates for Children’s Services of Legal Aid of North Carolina on behalf of a middle school student with a disability who was suspended for a total of 34 school days during the 2012-13 school year and received no educational services during the suspension.
Peggy Nicholson, an attorney with Advocates for Children Services, applauded the move in a statement.
“Students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended in Durham Public Schools, but this new program will help reduce the harm of suspension for students with disabilities by providing them with academic support and supervision during suspensions,” Nicholson said.
School officials said the program will be offered to all middle-and high school students with disabilities who have received more than 10 days of short-term suspension during a school year.
The program won’t serve elementary school students. It will operate as a full-day operation at the Lakeview School Short-Term Intervention Center.
“The Intervention Center will be staffed by a highly-qualified special education teacher,” said Debbie Polen-Pitman, assistant superintendent for student, family and community services, in a statement.
She added that transportation will be offered by DPS to all students attending the Intervention Center and that breakfast and lunch will be offered to all program participants