Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pittman, Nelson Leading Bipartisan Effort to Empower Special-Needs Students

State Rep. Anastasia Pittman has filed several measures this year to provide new protections and benefits to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens, including children with disabilities.

“I believe government’s core functions include protecting our most vulnerable citizens from exploitation and ensuring all children have access to a quality education, particularly those with special needs,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City.

House Bill 3327, by Pittman, creates the Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program.

Pittman noted that state Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City) has filed similar legislation and the two will be working together in a bipartisan fashion to advance the proposal.

“Children with disabilities such as Down's syndrome or autism often require specialized instruction,” Pittman said. “The parents of these children should be able to select the school that does the best job meeting a child’s needs. We should not force children with disabilities to go to a school that is not equipped to educate them.”

By allowing parents to select a school that provides appropriate services for a child with special needs, Pittman said the legislation will prevent lawsuits that occur when a currently designated school system is not prepared for special-needs students and accidents occur.
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