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Michigan Education

What happens when parents disagree with schools over how to teach kids with special needs?

"It's really challenging for parents to be able to voice any kind of disagreement with what schools decide their child should be getting," McWilliams told us.
"It's really challenging for parents to be able to voice any kind of disagreement with what schools decide their child should be getting," McWilliams told us.

Our conversation with mother Melody Arabo and attorney Mark McWilliams.

What happens when you're the parent of a child with special needs, and your view of how you want your child to be educated clashes with the school district's?

Melody Arabo is a mother who has been fighting that battle with the Walled Lake Consolidated School District.

We spoke with her on Stateside when she was named Michigan's Teacher of the Year for 2014-2015. She joined us today as a mom. 

Mark McWilliams is an attorney with Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service. It's an independent non-profit that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.

In our conversation above, Arabo told us about her struggle to get her sons enrolled in a general ed classroom at Keith Elementary.

And, amidst a broad move toward inclusion -- that's bringing students with special needs into mainstream classrooms -- McWilliams sat down to talk with us about school districts' legal responsibility toward children with disabilities, and how Michigan schools compare with other states when it comes to integrating these students. 

We reached out to Walled Lake Consolidated School District for comment. See their response below:

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Support for State of Opportunity comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first.

 

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