Comment by November 2, 2016 about Georgia’s Draft Proposed GNETS Rule
As background, on August 23, 2016, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Complaint against the State of Georgia about Georgia violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by operating a segregated, statewide program offering an inferior education: GNETS. See http://bit.ly/2bxN2Em.
In response, the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) drafted a new state rule governing the GNETS program and services. The Georgia Department of Education will say what changes Georgia should make to come into compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act. The draft rule is in its preliminary stages, and the GADOE wants to hear what you think. They are hosting three regional meetings for your feedback on the proposed draft rule regarding how Georgia provides supports for students with behavioral-related disabilities and the current GNETS programs. Details about the meetings can be found at this link:http://bit.ly/2dnljuV, and the meetings are listed here:
- Gainesville, GA; Date: October 24, 2016; Time: 3pm – 6pm
- Tifton, GA; Date: October 27, 2016; Time: 3pm – 6pm
- Fayetteville, GA; Date: October 28, 2016; Time: 3pm – 6pm
At the meetings, speakers will have three minutes to share their thoughts on the draft of the new proposed rule. If you cannot attend and want to provide written public feedback, you can email your comments to GNETrule@doe.k12.ga.us and email@example.com. The deadline to submit your comments is November 2, 2016. Georgia needs to hear from people like you who care about behavioral supports and a quality education in schools.
To make sure your voice is heard:
- First – Visit these links to read the draft proposed rule: http://bit.ly/2etNJk7 and the current rule: http://bit.ly/KVAIJX.
- Second – Share your suggestions and any changes you would make if you were imagining a statewide system of behavioral supports for students in neighborhood schools. This can be done in person at a feedback meeting or in an email to the Department of Education. Remember, the deadline to share your thoughts is November 2, 2016.
Here are a few of the most important things that need to be part of Georgia’s new GNETS Rule:
- Students should attend their neighborhood schools with their siblings, friends, and peers.
- Students should be able to access good supports and services in order to be successful.
- Georgia should fund and support services for students who need them in neighborhood schools.
- Separate is not equal.
- Teachers need and deserve training and knowledge about how to support students with behavior-related disabilities.
Here are a few suggestions to include as you form your comments:
- If your child wasn’t able to attend his or her neighborhood school because there were no supports and services there, and you were therefore forced to send your child to a GNETS, include this in your comments.
- If your child wasn’t able to attend his or her neighborhood school because there were no supports and services there, and you were therefore forced to home school or cyber school your child, include this in your comments.
- If your child wasn’t able to attend his or her neighborhood school because there were no supports and services there, and there were not sufficient supports and services at the GNETS program – affecting your child’s behavior education – include this in your comments.
- Please talk about what it would take to support your child in his or her neighborhood school. (Some suggestions we have heard include being able to eat lunch in the classroom, participating in small group classes with peers who are non-disabled, having teachers who are trained to support students with challenging behavior, access to academic tutoring, assistive technology, a sensory diet, specific types of reading instruction, and group and individual therapy, to name a few.) What do you think the Georgia Department of Education can do to make sure your child has choices and is able to live life in the community?
The Georgia Advocacy Office, Parent to Parent of Georgia, and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities would like to support families as you develop your speaking points, and we invite you to join us on one of two informational conference calls, where we will discuss the draft proposed rule and upcoming feedback meetings. These conference calls will be held on Thursday October 20, 2016 at noon to 1pm and 6pm to 7pm. If you are interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your RSVP and we will send you the call-in information. Thank you.