The Atlanta Chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network strongly condemns the state of Georgia’s illegal segregation of students with disabilities, violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The United States Department of Justice’s recent letter of findings, which identified widespread segregation of children with disabilities at school, was issued just before the 25th Anniversary of the Act. Georgia’s violation is a shameful testament to how far we have to go.
The United States’ letter to the state of Georgia, Governor Deal, and State Attorney General Olens details the illegal segregation of students. The segregation occurs in often inferior buildings and with inferior education practices. The thousands of students in the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program often have separate lunch periods, must enter through separate doors, and cannot engage with their peers not in the GNETS program. GNETS often serves these students in segregated buildings. Even when in general education buildings, segregation of these students still occurs. The letter also noted the inappropriate placement of students who could participate in general education with proper supports into the GNETS program. These students are placed in the GNETS program even with clear alternatives.
ASAN Atlanta calls upon the State of Georgia to modify its practices according to the guidance in the Department of Justice’s letter, and end this discrimination. We hold the State of Georgia accountable for failing these students.