The following appeared in TASH in Action, TASH’s bi-weekly electronic newsletter.
In Nation’s Largest District, 1 in 3 Suspensions Handed to Kids in Special Education – Disability Scoop
A recent report indicates students in special education programs account for 1 in 3 of all student suspensions in New York City public schools despite the fact that such students represent less than 18 percent of the district’s student population. The data comes from an analysis released this week by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Student Safety Coalition that looked at suspension records for New York City schools from 1999 to 2009. The organizations accessed the information through a series of Freedom of Information Act requests.
Overall, more than 73,000 suspensions were handed out in New York City public schools in the most recent year examined. In contrast, there were 44,000 suspensions during the 1999-2000 school year. The shift toward more suspensions occurred even as the school district’s population declined.
Read more here, or download the full report (PDF)
Colorado Governor Pardons Man Executed for Murder in 1939 – Reuters
Outgoing Colorado Governor Bill Ritter issued a posthumous pardon for Joe Arridy, a man with intellectual disability who was executed in 1939 for the murder for 15-year-old Dorothy Drain. Frank Aguilar, who later confessed to having committed the crime, said he had never met Joe Arridy. In a statement, the Governor said, “Pardoning Arridy cannot undo this tragic event in Colorado history. It is in the interests of justice and simple decency, however, to restore his good name.”
Read more here
Nebraska High Court Upholds Mental Commitment Law – Lincoln Journal Star
Nebraska’s High Court rejected a constitutional challenge to existing state law allowing judges to involuntarily commit persons with developmental disabilities who are deemed by the court to be dangerous. The case was brought forth by the lawyer of a man identified in court documents as C.R. on the grounds the current law is unconstitutional “because it does not require the state to prove at trial that a substantial likelihood exists that a person with developmental disabilities will engage in dangerous behavior in the future.” C.R., who was charged with first-degree sexual assault, was determined by a judge not to be mentally competent to stand trial. Lancaster County then filed a motion to have C.R. declared a threat to others and be committed to the Lincoln Regional Center, as allowed by the current law.
Read more here
Disability Groups Hit Back on Medicaid Reduction Plan – Minnesota Public Radio
Individuals with disabilities and other advocates have raised concerns regarding a proposal to scale back the state’s Medicaid benefits. Supporters of the cuts, including a group of seven health plans and hospitals, say the proposal is needed to eliminate nearly a third of the state’s $6.2 billion budget shortfall. Commissioner of Human Services Lucinda Jesson has agreed to meet today with disability advocates as well as health plan representatives.
Read more here