Probe of school urged for calling special needs students ‘abnormal’
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the Department of Education on Friday to investigate the discriminatory acts allegedly committed by a public school in Caloocan, which reportedly ordered the displacement of special needs students from their designated classroom and called them “abnormal.”
“I condemn the alleged conduct of Principal Eustaquio Gagarra, Jr. of Kalayaan National High School. This type of despicable discrimination against special needs children has no place in our public education system,” Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate committee on education, said in a statement.
The incident prompted the senator to also call on the committee to prioritize the passage of a measure that would give protection and care for children and youth with special needs.
Gatchalian was referring to Senate Bill No. 996 known as the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act of 2016, which he said is one of key measures comprising his legislative agenda.
The bill, he said, would “establish a comprehensive inclusive education policy framework infused with significant investments in SPED infrastructure, dedicated teaching and non-teaching personnel, and specialized personal equipment and learning aids.”
The senator said the ultimate vision of the bill is to prepare children and youth with special needs (CYSNs) for full participation and achievement, first in the regular classroom setting of public schools, and eventually in Philippine society at-large as fully integrated young adults.
“Special needs children are not abnormal. They deserve to be treated with the same respect and care as other Filipino youth, which means that they must be given the chance to obtain a quality education and live meaningful lives as respected members of our society,” he said.
“This legislation will pull special needs children out of the margins and give them the fighting chance in life that they deserve,” Gatchalian added. CDG
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