Thursday, December 17, 2009

MT: Human Rights' Bureau Confirms Discrimination

December 17, 2009
By Jennifer Searcy
Founder/Director of Public Policy & Affairs
The Coalition for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

On December 16, 2009, reported that the Montana Department of Labor & Industry's Human Rights Commission has confirmed that discrimination did occur in North Middle School in Great Falls, after a 180 day investigation into the abuse allegations of a teen diagnosed with autism.

In a report sent to [the teen's mother Tifonie] Schilling, [who had filed the complaint with the bureau], the bureau investigator says there is reason to believe unlawful discrimination occurred, noting, "...unlikely the educational agents would've treated an able-bodied, verbal student in the same manner."

Although the school system had denied discrimination occurred, district superintendent Cheryl Crawley reportedly said the district had taken action right away and that it would continue to take action in cases of possible abuse.

Tifonie Schilling, however, was quoted as saying that the report was "a small win" and that she hoped the findings would push the district to hire someone to assess the district's program and to find and implement changes.

It's not a win in the sense that all this occurred in the first place. It's a very sad situation and heartbreaking for our family, but it's a win in that it's an outside agency that investigated all of this.

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