Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Classroom Integration and Bullying

by Kathy Foust

I know that kids in special education classes need to develop social skills. I know that kids who aren't in those classes need to develop tolerance. I just don't think that classroom integration is the way to go, at least not the way it's practiced now.

Here's what happens.

Kids who are in special education classes are in them because they need some extra help somewhere, whether it be due to behavioral problems, medical problems, mental health issues or learning disorders. When those kids are forced to integrate with the mainstream classrooms, a couple of different things happen.

For one, that child is going to stand out simply because they have to leave the classroom every now and then for their special education portion. Or, an aide is with them. The one thing a child doesn't want to do in public school is stand out from a crowd. As soon as they do, they're marked for some type of harassment from the other students.

Moving on...

A child who acts out in class not only disrupts the class, but, you guessed it, draws more negative attention to themselves.

And yet...we still don't take responsibility for bullying in schools? umm..okay then.

Moving on...

Do you know that some children actually learn how to be disabled? Kids are so much smarter than they are given credit for. They have tons of room in those little brains to learn new things. So, as we try to teach our children to behave, we sit them in a room with a child who misbehaves while the teachers tell the other children that the misbehaving child can't control it because they have a disability. Now, what do you think happens in the brains of those children who aren't excused for their behavior? One of 3 things.

They ignore it and stick to their normal routine.
They observe that if you have a disability, you can be excused for negative behavior, thus they begin adopting some of the symptoms of that disability.
They torture the crap out of the kid that gets away with everything.

Something to think about.

I'm just saying, if we want to set all of our children up for failure, integration is the perfect answer.

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