Position Paper for the Case: Negotiating the Handicap
According to the case, Elm Elementary School is short-staffed and a little bit overcrowded. A large fraction of the school students are in a special education program. The school have only one special education resource teacher, Mr. Fred Rodriguez, who serves 31 students. Elm Elementary School needs at least one student more to have another special education resource teacher. Due to the frustration of having a heavy workload, Mr. Rodriguez tries to find a candidate for the special education program. Then, a student named Sally was referred to him for disruptive behavior in class, a sign of an emotional/behavioral disorder (EBD). The staff fully evaluated Sally and found out that according to the data, she had a speech disorder. Although Sally shows signs of having an EBD, the staff was uncertain on what caused her sudden change in behavior. Mr. Rodriguez, being the only special education resource teacher, may have the final say on what will happen to Sally’s case.
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If I was in Mr. Rodriguez’ case, I would recommend to the school and Sally’s parents to subject Sally for further analysis, say for one month. If Sally should continue her sullen and unpredictable behavior, then she should be in the special education program. If Sally is to be enrolled in a special education program without knowing if she indeed has an emotional/behavioral behavior, Sally’s condition would become worse. Teachers should be reflective thinkers and ethical decision-makers. They should exhibit dignity, care and justice among all of their students. Putting Sally in the special education program will not help her condition and could worsen it. A good ethical teacher would not take a certain opportunity only to make himself more comfortable.
Case Study Response
Consideration of any missing information that could alter your judgment.
The case did not elaborate the process on evaluating Sally’s condition. The evaluation team was not also in detail. Since Sally’s condition requires a sort of psychological expertise and the school only has Mr. Rodriguez as their special education resource teacher, the staff could have misevaluated Sally.
Description of reasonable alternatives.
Mr. Rodriguez could recommend Sally to take the special education program since that would make his work much easier. He could also propose to let Sally’s parents to hire a speech therapist for the reason that she was initially diagnosed of having a speech disorder.
Endorsement of one of the alternatives.
Enlisting Sally to the special education program, I think is the best alternative. Sally already showed some signs of an emotional/behavioral disorder. Another reason is that if Sally is to be joined in the program, a new teacher will be hired and Mr. Rodriguez will be able to focus more attention to his students, making them more susceptible to learning.
4. Brief sketch of reasons that support the alternative you endorsed over the alternatives rejected.
If Sally had an emotional/behavioral behavior, employing a speech therapist would not help her. Sally’s speech disorder could also be the cause of her EBD. I think a speech disorder can also be considered as a condition which requires special education.
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