Donald Trump and his band of right-wing misfits have sunk to an even lower low. They have set their sights on a new target: disabled children. Shortly after Betsy DeVos was confirmed as education secretary, the website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) completely disappeared.
The site was an essential resource for disabled students and their families. But now, like so many other government web pages, it has simply vanished under Trump’s reign. Margaret spellings, the secretary of education under George W. Bush, created the site. Getting the right services for a special needs child can be overwhelming and the site provided information explaining the rights and protections the federal law provides for students with disabilities.
Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are demanding answers. They issued the following statement:
The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators, and administrators to find the resources they need to implement this federal law and protect the rights of children with disabilities. The website has provided accessible and informative summaries of the law, training materials, sample educational forms, presentations for the public, and so many other user-friendly resources.
As disgusting as this is, it is hardly surprising. During her confirmation hearing, Betsy DeVos said protections for disabled students should be left up to the states rather than the federal government. Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions stood on the floor of the Senate in 2000 and argued that public schools are failing because of federal regulations to ensure children with disabilities can get an education. And then there is Trump himself, who mocked a disabled reporter on the campaign trail.
In a Facebook post intended for DeVos, Allison Cardwell explained exactly what doing away with IDEA regulations would mean. She was born with cerebral palsy, which affects her arms and legs. She wrote, “Growing up, I always knew that to make up for my physical limitations, I’d have to rely on my mind.”
When it comes to children growing up with disabilities, “a public, adapted education is their only chance,” Cardwell explained. She then laid it all out in no uncertain terms.
Providing children with a fair chance to learn is the first step in ending a cycle of dependence on public assistance. My education is the only reason I no longer rely on government benefits. Without jobs that pay well and provide healthcare, what choice will these children have but to fall back on the very government that failed them in the first place?
If you want to cut government spending in the long run, give countless disabled children a fighting chance to succeed.
As a billionaire, I would have thought you’d have a better understanding of investments.
Well, that certainly sums it up nicely. Doesn’t it? Taking education away from disabled children helps no one. It is just sick and twisted. Trump should be ashamed. DeVos should be ashamed. His entire administration should be ashamed. America should be ashamed.
Featured image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
April has studied political science, psychology, and philosophy. Back in the good old days she was a reporter for “old fashioned” print newspapers. In addition to news and politics, she also blogs about service dogs and disability advocacy. As a black woman with a disability, she is fed up with the right-wingers who would prefer that she and others like her didn’t exist.