Are Minorities Aptly Represented in Special Needs Schools?
Posted on: March 31, 2015 by Care Providers Insurance
What is a “high risk” special needs student? According to the National Association of Special Education Teachers (naset), the definition of a high-risk student is one that is “experiencing possibly severe emotional, social, environmental or academic stress.” Special Education teachers, and teachers in general, play an important role in reducing the risks of “At Risk” Special Needs Schools. One factor that increases legal risks and exposes educational facilities to potential lawsuits is the representation of minorities in the school.
Many teachers may be quick to assume that the risk that minorities bring to schools is underrepresentation, but in special needs schools the opposite is true. The U.S. Department of Education recently released figures that show that over-representation is occurring in schools across the nation. The assumption, according to educational resource website LearnNC.org, is that educators often lack experience with minorities or have preconceived notions of how they learn, and thus tend to refer minority students for special education services more often that the majority.
Where lays the risk? Special education classrooms can be pivotal in assisting the students who need them. However, they simply don’t give the educational opportunities that a regular, or gifted, classroom provides. So if a student has been mistakenly referred to a special education classroom, they are missing out on the access to the education they qualify for and actually need. In addition, an inappropriately referred student might be given unnecessary behavior or instructional services that could better serve another student who was not given the opportunity to receive special education.
The risks go beyond the practical implications as well; special education classrooms often carry a social stigma; one of which can hurt a student’s self-esteem and motivation. This is particularly true for a minority student who is in a special needs class when he or she shouldn’t be. They will likely get bored or frustrated with a situation that they feel they don’t belong in.
Your clients in the special education sector have a very important role to play in the educational future of their students. But it is not only up to them; they must have the proper support of their fellow teachers in the education system and in their district. At Care Providers Insurance Services, we understand the unique risks faced by those in the educational sector. For more information about our coverages and services for your clients, please contact us today at 855.526.2967.