“You will never be able to read or write”, “What do you want me to study for?”, “Better, learn a trade” or “Delays the rest” are just some of the comments that families who fight for their children and daughters with disability are “accepted” in classrooms. The prejudice that a student with a disability cannot learn is one of the many obstacles that persist, according to specialists, in certain schools. “It is a focus on the deficit, in everything that the student does not achieve or does not achieve; a ‘normalizing’ model in which the child must adapt to school and not the other way around, as the law states“, explains Gabriela Santuccione, coordinator of Grupo Article 24, a coalition of more than 170 social organizations from all over the country that work to fulfill the right to inclusive education.
It is also common for some schools to refuse training on the grounds that they “already know everything.” However, according to experts, it is not enough to have affection and good disposition, but teachers must have the appropriate knowledge.
Although resolution 311/16 of the Federal Council of Education establishes that All schools They have the duty to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee that students with disabilities learn and participate in equal conditions, the stories of exclusion are repeated by thousands in our country. That is why the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ) and the Article 24 Group launched a web platform www.porunaeducacioninclusiva.org, which provides information on the obstacles that children and young people with disabilities face in school and on the tools that can be used to demand the effective fulfillment of the right to inclusive education.
What are the main barriers?
- Exclude students with disabilities from school. Schools cannot argue that they are not prepared or that the space for students with disabilities is already covered, nor can they condition enrollment on psychopedagogical evaluations, diagnostic results or the availability of support, or impose dual enrollment or mixed schooling.
- Suggest referral to special school. Any school or official that imposes or suggests the enrollment of students with disabilities in a special school commits an illegal act. Parents have the right to choose their children’s school. Inclusive education implies that all people are educated together and schools must adopt the necessary modifications for this. “Forcing people to go to separate environments to educate themselves is to segregate,” Santuccione explains and adds: “We are forming a society that excludes. A school that separates is a school that teaches to separate. The current school reproduces and generates exclusion.”
- Not having support staff for inclusion. The education system must ensure the availability of support staff for the inclusion required by students with disabilities during their school career. They cannot deny the admission of the child due to the lack of support staff or demand support if the student does not require it. Support staff should work collaboratively with school teachers.
Natacha toured more than 30 private schools in the City in search of a common school for her son Iñaki, who has austimo
- Refusing to implement accessibility measures, supports or adjustments. Schools must adopt the necessary measures so that students with disabilities learn and participate on equal terms: modify teaching strategies, offer different forms of communication in class (sign language, Braille, etc.), modify infrastructure, reduce noise levels in the classroom, among others.
- Individual Pedagogical Project for Inclusion (PPI). Students have the right to have an Individual Pedagogical Project to guarantee their inclusion at all levels of the common school. Not all people with disabilities need PPI, but if they do need it, they should have the opportunity to apply it in all curricular spaces, such as languages, physical education, areas of logic, mathematics, among others. The PPI does not mean exemption from subjects or having low expectations for achievement.
- Reduction of working hours. Schools must allow students with disabilities to attend the entire educational day. When the school feels that it cannot teach a person, it decides to exclude them rather than asking itself what to do to ensure their full participation.
- Impose repetition. School teams cannot dictate or recommend that a person repeat the school year based on their disability.
- Denial of evaluations or titles. Students with disabilities will be evaluated according to their Individual Pedagogical Plan (PPI) and will receive a primary and secondary degree like the rest of their peers.