Donald Trump’s newly appointed attorney general said laws designed to help disabled children were to blame for a “decline in civility and discipline” in classrooms.In May 2000, Senator Jeff Sessions argued against federal protections for students with disabilities as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act- citing efforts to place disabled pupils in mainstream classrooms as the reason for frightful behaviour in the US public school system. “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,” Mr Sessions insist to the Senate floor.
The 1975 law was designed to offer disabled children protections from school administrators, requiring schools to grant students with disabilities access to education in a general classroom where possible. The legislation, which has since been reformed numerous times,has been credited with helping millions of children receive mainstream access to public schooling. Education advocates and disability rights campaigners strongly condemned Mr Sessions’ comments, which have added to growing fears that disability rights will not be a top priority for the President-elect – fears that increased after he mocked a reporter with physical disabilities during his campaign for office.
Candace Aylor, Texas health commission’s Behavioral Health Advisory Committee appointee, called the remarks “heartless and misguided.”“If he doesn’t recognise 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 told the Huffington Post.“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?”Mr Sessions became one of the first members of Congress to endorse Mr Trump in February, and became an adviser on almost every major decision and policy proposal made during his election campaign. The Republican’s nomination of the senator as the country’s top law officer earlier in December was met with concern over a string of controversial comments and inflammatory takes on social policy linked to the senator since the 1970’s.