Former disabled students may return to school to receive special education

Hundreds of former public school students will have the choice to head back into the classroom because of a lawsuit against the Dept. of Education saying that special needs students did not receive the education they deserved.

But first, those former students have to be found.

The Hawaii Disability Rights Center is essentially reaching out to young adults who are entitled to further education from the DOE. Paul Alston’s law firm says more than 350 people may be eligible to go back to school.

“Anybody who has a young adult who was terminated by the DOE, or dropped out of the DOE, before turning 20 when they were eligible for special education, should go and look, because we will be able to provide them a good program,” Alston said.

He also emphasized that these are not young people currently involved in special education programs.

“We’re talking about children or young adults who are now as old as 27 years old. They don’t belong on a school campus. They belong in a vocational program in a community college or in some other setting where they can get the skills they need to live independently.”

One mother of a special education young man was pleased that he had the opportunity to learn to live on his own. But she joined Alston in urging parents or family members to follow up on the chance to get more education for these young people.

Debbie Kobayakawa said “they need to go back and look for the services so they can be independent, so they can become employed, so they can live independently because their parents aren’t going to live forever.”

Once again, these are young people who dropped out or were let go by the Dept. of Education special programs they were involved in. The DOE says it will cooperate in helping those individuals.

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