Frances Haddon Morgan Center Redux Redux

That’s me

A good example why one should not blog at the end of the day can be found in the freshly deleted Bremerton Beat post “Frances Haddon Morgan Center, Redux.”

The issue involves the responsibilities of school districts and the state to provide severely disabled students equal access to education.

A call Wednesday evening from Bremerton schools spokeswoman Krista Carlson alerted me to what amounts to my apparently surrealistic account, which in the tradition of the great surrealists, was incomprehensible and made no sense. That’s good when presenting an autographed urinal as a sculpture, not so good when presenting a piece of writing as journalism.

Rather than try to untangle the post, I’ve decided to start over.

Here is the story that went on the wire last weekend.

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal civil rights investigation has found the Shoreline
School District discriminated against students with disabilities.
In February 2007, the district decided to exclude from its classrooms new residents of a state facility for people with disabilities. Investigators found that as a result of that decision 11 children at the Fircrest School in Shoreline didn’t go to school at all. All but one had attended public school before going to Fircrest.
While it did not acknowledge wrongdoing, the district has agreed to revise its policies and practices.
The district and state will create individual plans for students. In addition, the state will pay for a large portable classroom on the high-school campus for special-needs students.

Here are the paragraphs from Times reporter Maureen O’Hagan relevant to Bremerton and the Frances Haddon Morgan Center. Read O’Hagan’s whole story here.

The Bremerton School District was in the same situation as Shoreline last year, when increasing numbers of children were being placed at the state’s Frances Haddon Morgan Center. When Bremerton said it no longer had classroom space for the Morgan Center kids, the Department of Social and Health Services opened a classroom on the institution’s grounds. Advocates quickly filed a discrimination lawsuit.

Under the terms of a June settlement, the district and the state agreed to create individual plans for students. In addition, DSHS agreed to pay for a large portable classroom on the high-school campus for special-needs students.

The suit was filed last year as the mostly autistic students were to move out of the old Bremerton Junior High on Wheaton Way. A federal judge had agreed it was not the district’s responsibility to provide a place for institutionalized students to attend class. Disability Rights Washington, the group that filed the suit, was preparing to appeal the decision when the settlement was reached.

Insight to how society views people with autism and the unique challenge they and their parents face trying to find a place in the world, can be gained by reading this story, “Disruptive behavior by autistic kids stirs furor,” which went on the wire today.

(I just realized, I broke my own rule by blogging at the end of the day.)

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