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Special Needs Students

There are various issues related to discipline which arise among students with special needs, an important one being the issue of non-attendance which happens to be a serious problems in the academic world. While interviewing a high school administrator, it was revealed that administrators feared chronic absenteeism due to their correlation with dropping from school, a fact which has been confirmed by researchers (Wilkins, 2008).

Mr Billings, the high school administrator also asserted that when children with special needs stay away from school over long periods of time, investigations are required to find out whether there are any problems which the child is facing with the school staff such as teachers or friends and peers. A second issue which troubled Mr.

Billings is the level of focus and sincerity of students towards homework, which is clearly impacted by interaction of the student with family members apart from other school factors such as motivation and teacher-student relationships. When an elementary administrator was interviewed regarding the possible problems among students with special needs, she asserted that school avoidance is one of the problems apart from acute childhood illnesses such as asthma, eczema, severe headaches, heart and kidney troubles etc.

which affect children (Shiu, 2004). Teachers often find it difficult to the chronic absenteeism of these children and the risks to these children when they come to school. Mrs Allen particularly asserted that handling such terminally ill children needed to be done with sensitivity and care, since such children necessitate healthy peer relations to deal with the stressors in life (Shiu, 2004). The approach to disciplinary action is substantially different for regular students as opposed to those with special needs.

While students with special needs would require parent-teacher-administrator meetings to discuss the level and severity of the child’s illness, issues concerning regular students would initially require counselling sessions between students, teachers and parents, following which effective intervention can be designed to suit the needs of the concerned student. When regular students stay away from school and display unacceptable behaviours, school authorities can take severe steps such as suspension of students from school but not before trying to counsel the students and the parents to find the exact causes of the behaviour.

Health of students at school is one of the primary concerns of administrators and high school teachers, especially when dealing with terminally or severely ill students. Sometimes, teachers may be unable to recognize a health episode at school and students or parents may be unwilling to inform teachers and staff regarding heath issues. When children and students are unable to look after their own health, it becomes an issue to teachers, who have the dual task of worrying about cross infections to other students of the class.

Additionally, the student with special needs could be at risk of relapse or injury while at school (Shiu, 2004). A second issue which concerned teachers and educators is the lack of availability of time and resources for providing assistance to students especially those children who were in severe need for attention sue to inability to cope. Severely ill students from belonging to high school could have an idea of their condition and that disciplinary actions taken are for the overall benefit of the school and the students in class, who could also be at risk due to fears of contamination.

Most parents of children with special needs are aware that disciplinary actions may vary between special needs students and regular students. Parents are aware that educators, teachers and administrators need to realise the illness or issues of their special child even if the child appears normal. Parents however, are sometimes unaware that teachers do work hard to establish a relationship with the child. Parents also feel that it is the duty of teachers to be extra cautious so that the child can be protected from serious problems at school.

Parents of children with special needs expect extraordinary treatment and special attention from teachers, most of the times which is granted to the ailing child, but cannot be done so at all times in all situations since teachers are responsible for all students in the class. Most parents do react positively to the differences in disciplinarian attitudes and behaviours of students with special needs and regular students. Parents of regular students are aware that children with special needs need to be treated differently from regular students.

However, there are some cases when parents tend to get irrational and demand reasons for differences in attitudes and behaviours. During such instances, administrators and school personnel explain the reasons for the differences in approach. The districts play a crucial role in the decision making process by virtue of the various laws designed to govern the academic and educational future of students. Students have several rights and are protected legally through federal, state and district laws. Additionally, it is mandatory for schools to provide free education to students with disabilities from the age of three years.

Any decision regarding a child or student with special needs has to abide in accordance with laws and regulations and it is necessary for parents to be advised by the school district regarding parental rights under the federal law, so that any decisions about the child care made on the basis of variety of information and persons who have complete knowledge of the child. In case of any discrepancy between parents and school teachers and authorities regarding decisions pertaining to the child, parents have the right to appeal decisions in accordance with the 504 Plan to the Compliance officer of the district.

Under section 504, an impartial hearing shall occur which will be conducted by the district through a hearing officer who is not an employee of the district giving fair chance to both parties to present their evidences in support of their stance so that a decision can be reached upon. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a special law which ensures services to children and students with disabilities all throughout the United States of America. The IDEA law regulates the manner in which states and public agencies provide early intervention programs and special education to students and children with special needs.

It is the duty of the school and concerned authorities to ensure that directions and training is appropriately provided to administrators and teachers to ensure that the IDEA regulations are being adhered to. References Shiu, Shiona (2004). Maintaining the thread: including young children with chronic illness in the primary classroom. Australian Journal of Early Childhood 29. 1: 33(6). Wilkins, Julia (Feb-March 2008). School characteristics that influence student attendance: experiences of students in a school avoidance program. (Report). High School Journal 91. 3: 12(13).

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