Friday, September 25, 2009

Why So Many Black Children Are Dubbed 'Emotionally Disturbed'

Why So Many Black Children Are Dubbed 'Emotionally Disturbed'
Voice of San Diego
September 25,2009

Buried in all the documents for the school board meeting next Tuesday is a disturbing report on why San Diego Unified identifies so many black students and English learners for special education.

This isn't a surprise: Another expert studied San Diego Unified two years ago and found that black children are disproportionately likely to be labeled as emotionally disturbed and English learners also make up a disproportionate part of special education classes. Harvard professor Thomas Hehir worried that students shunted into separate classes might be underserved compared to if they had stayed in mainstream classes and been given extra help.

But the report sheds light on why, exactly, this seems to be happening. The "current system focuses on identification rather than prevention and punishment rather than support," wrote Jaime Hernandez, a consultant hired by the school district to examine the problem. His findings include:

# The school district doesn't have good ways to help children with behavioral and academic problems in ordinary classrooms. It relies too heavily on punishments to discipline kids, instead of methods that reward and teach children how to behave, like this one used at Edison Elementary.

# Kids are identified remarkably early for special education, which Hernandez believes shows that schools are relying too heavily on special education to intervene when kids struggle...

# There aren't enough options for places to educate children with emotional disturbance, especially places that are less segregated and restrictive. The high number of kids with emotional disturbance that are sent to separate classrooms and schools indicates to Hernandez that the process of identifying children as emotionally disturbed is "driven by placement" -- where the child is sent.

Hernandez recommends that San Diego Unified expand programs such as the one at Edison Elementary (read our article for more details) and develop more ways to intervene and help children before they are diagnosed with a disability to prevent "inappropriate referrals."...


Anonymous said...

Back to San Diego well the county of San Diego was disgusted with thousands of students labeled as emotionally disturbed being sent to SD county mental health. While the local school districts did NOT provide any special education services for them. So SD County said in court docs, the truth is that the money dried out and the state did not compensate them for the county mental health services. So SD sued the state and then when SD prevailed the school districts started to sue CDE in what is known as Grossmont High School District v. California Department of education. Yes of course DANIEL SHINOFF represented Grossmont.

The bottom line is that California spends millions of dollars setting kids up for failure and millions more to fund the biggest Youth Authority in the country. See “emotional disturbance AB 2726” is not a true diagnosis. Its like saying you have headaches a true physician would study what is causing the headaches and give you the proper treatment. Same thing with special education early childhood intervention is essential. Voice of San Diego in depth report on student “Alexis Ramirez” (student) who.
“missed most of kindergarten to sobbing fits. First grade at Edison Elementary was little better. She would cling to the school gates or run from the classroom.” "She would never stay with anyone else, except her mom."
Yes Alexis should have been tested from the time she was two years old for PDD-NOS “Pervasive Developmental Disorder,” Asperger Syndrome or other developmental neurological disorders. Instead her desperate parents called a police officer? These disorders need to be tracked from infancy and California has received literally millions of dollars for autism and related disorders. So where is the money? Where is the teacher training? Why are these children not diagnosed and treated?
I am horrified by the responses and comments by these schoolteachers and professionals. As a reader I find it is disturbing that these college professionals, who work with children each day cannot see troubling signs, refer and properly test children so that they can have a successful academic career.
Instead they resort to suspension and negative labels such as “emotionally disturbance” which only sets children up for a life behind bars. The acts against these children, taking place in California schools is criminal in itself.

It sure sounds like schools like Riley should be shut down these schools warehouse, teach and reinforce bad behavior.

“Three questions are written on the wall: "Why are you here? What could you have done differently? How do I know you are ready to be in class?"

Anonymous said...

Instead they should tell the students and the parents that they are not/or misdiagnosing, not spending money on special education services. A label of “emotional disturbance,” only places students in a category receive special education services.

However, these students never receive these services instead they are warehoused….then placed in the California Youth Authority and then California State Prison for life.

Anonymous said...

Yes, getting form 700's or 990's from school districts are a trip; I've been down that road. I asked the Vista Unified School District for the form 700 and they did the same thing they asked for a request letter. So I submitted the letter, it took about a week, within that week they filed out the board of directors names and signatures. I got ONE real form 700 out of five (Gibson). The President of the Board just put her name on it and signed it and so did the rest. I don’t consider this a true form 700.

I asked for a Pro. O Bond Oversight Committee 700's and I got the same. Most members only disclosed their names and signed the forms (I hope those were their signatures?). They claimed they did not know what information was required. I mean sure they have legal counsel that instruct them to do as they please. In the end they cover up any conflicts. The way they see it; better to not disclose the conflicts than to have written proof that there is actual conflict that violate the law.

See if a regulator agency looks at this stuff it is proof of a conflict when it is blank or when they don't file they can act ignorant.

I asked their charter school for the IRS form 990, WOW!!! They didn't even know what that was?

I have cc them because here is Vista they like things just the way they are…

Maura Larkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

California is the biggest recipient of special education funding in the country.

California has one of the most violations against special education students. California was put on a pilot program with six other states. California has been monitored by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation OSEP and OCERS I believe since 2005 or sooner.

California has failed so miserably that now the U.S. Congress is discussing the issue of special education and violations in California Schools, assaults, restraints, brutality, i.g.
What you are writing is a perfect example of the horrific treatment of special education students and yes there is certainly a disparity in children of color and race.
For example, “emotional disturbance” is a general “word” that places students in the most gruesome category known in California. More so that the OSEP and OCERS have discussed this issue at various meetings in held in California when they amended IDEA 2005. The federal government has cautioned California not to use this category. OSEP sent out notices to every news agency and school district when it held a public meeting in San Diego to discuss these issues with parents.

Unfortunately not a single news release went out to the parents or the general public. As a result only school personal attended the meeting in SD. The school personal were filibustering and praising the wonderful programs they had in SD. The coordinator for OSEP was Nancy Cunningham (the Duke’s wife who is an administrator in EUSD.) Nancy Cunningham made sure that the heads of OSEP were treated very badly.
The “emotionally disturbed” category brands child like animals and sets them up for the most famous “California Youth Authority” “CYA.” The California Youth Authority is the largest juvenile system in the country. The CYA was started by former SD Sheriff Bill Kolender (who was a former assistant publisher with the UT.) Attorney Glenna DeCamara Eubanck worked as a deputy district attorney in the Appellate and Juvenile Division of San Diego District Attorney's Office. She later got a job working Stutz Artiano Shinoff and Holtz. She was responsible for sending dozens of students and their parents to jail including Claudia Houston and Lindsey Stewart. Glenna left SASH in 2005 married attorney Ferman and went solo.