It is a truth that cannot be easily ignored that school bullying has reached epic proportions in the last decade. Special needs children are often unfairly targeted because of the physical or mental problems that are attached to their conditions. Even children who have medical problems, such as diabetes or epilepsy, may be bullied for having to take medication or for having to eat different foods than the other children eat. In addition, studies have shown that children with ADHD, learning disabilities or speech disorders, such as stuttering, can have additional problems particularly for those attending mainstream classrooms. In fact, these children are two to three times more likely to be bullied when compared to their peers.
The Harms of School Bullying Against Children with Special Needs
Not only is bullying irritating for the children and frustrating for the parents but also it can be downright dangerous. Children who are bullied lose their desire to attend school and may even see their grades plummet. They may have trouble concentrating during class time and often have low achievement rates combined with high rates of school absenteeism. Bullying can also cause emotional issues, including anxiety and depression, as well as physical health complaints, such as stomach aches. In some situations, the effects of bullying can even be life threatening, such as in the case of students with food allergies or chronic diseases. Bullying may include taking away necessary medication or giving children something to which they are allergic.
The federal government has provisions protecting these children from bullying and harassment. These laws apply to anyone who has an Individualized Educational Plan. The Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 often apply in these scenarios. Parents who are not being adequately helped by the school district should contact a special education attorney. Our legal professionals at Newman Aaronson Vanaman have plenty of experience in these and other matters and can work directly with school districts or can bring issues to the court level when necessary.