March 19, 2018
The Wisconsin Legislature is currently in special session considering a series of school safety proposals. A summary of those proposals is listed below along with a statement by the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations. The Arc Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Pugh is a Survival Coalition Co-Chair.
- MR8 AB1 School Safety Grants (Assembly Organization) Grants to schools for school safety and safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, and facilities; providing an exemption from rule-making procedures; and making an appropriation.
- MR8 AB2 Office of School Safety (Assembly Organization) Creating an office of school safety in the Department of Justice and making appropriations.
- MR8 AB3 Suspected Violence Reporting (Assembly Organization) Mandatory reporting of suspected intent to carry out violence involving a dangerous weapon or explosive in or targeting a school and providing a criminal penalty.
- MR8 AB4 Model Bullying Policy (Assembly Organization) The Department of Public Instruction’s model school policy on bullying by pupils.
- MR8 AB5 School Safety Plans (Assembly Organization) School safety plans.
- MR8 AB6 School Camera Footage (Assembly Organization) Allowing a school board to share safety camera footage with law enforcement.
Survival Coalition Concerned Safety Plan Lacks Supports and Services for Students
For Immediate Release: March 16, 2017
Madison, WI- While the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations supports efforts to make Wisconsin schools safer for all children, disability advocates remain concerned that recent proposals miss the mark when it comes to the needs of students with disabilities. Specifically, Survival Coalition members say Governor Walker’s proposed $100 million investment in school safety does not go far enough to provide the necessary supports and services students require.
“Students with disabilities are more likely to be bullied, they are more likely to have unmet mental health needs. They are increasingly taught by the least experienced teachers. Yet there hasn’t been an increase in special education funding for almost ten years. Costs to educate students with disabilities have increased over time while the reimbursement rate has gone from a high of 66% in 1980 to a low of 26% in 2017.” said Lisa Pugh, Co-Chair of Survival Coalition.
Survival Coalition launched a survey during the month of January to get input from families on the quality of special education services in Wisconsin. The results show that lack of resources is affecting children’s education and social emotional well-being.
Survival Co-chair Beth Swedeen said, “Over 500 families responded to the survey and many say they have seen declining supports over time. 42% said that their child struggles with more behavioral challenges, and 47% said their child was increasingly socially isolated due to lack of services.”
Research shows that when police presence in schools is increased, the suspension, expulsion of students with disabilities also rises.
“Funds redirected to school mental health services, more school counselors and psychologists would benefit all students and keep them in the classroom and learning,” says Pugh. “The legislature should consider engaging stakeholders including parents before rushing into solutions that don’t provide greater support to students in our schools across Wisconsin,” says Swedeen.
Survival Coalition is comprised of more than 30 statewide disability organizations that advocate and support policies and practices that lead to the full inclusion, participation, and contribution of people living with disability.