The NJSBA Special Education Committee met on Saturday, Nov. 23 with the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities to discuss its report, “School Safety Issues Affecting Students with Disabilities: A Call to Action.”

Issued in September 2019, the report seeks to ensure that schools are fully prepared to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities including sensory disabilities, medical and mobility disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and other unique challenges in an emergency situation.

Further, the report recommends that schools include all students with disabilities in all school safety drills. The needs of those with disabilities should be included in school safety planning documents and in students’ individualized education plans, where appropriate.

The Special Education Committee also discussed bill A-5828, which requires documentation of needs of students with disabilities during school security drills, emergency situations and in school security plans. Additionally, the bill requires staff training on the needs of students with disabilities in emergency planning.

special ed committee members
Left to right: John Burns, counsel, NJSBA; Rita Barone, Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education; Mercedes Witkowsky, executive director, N.J. Council on Developmental Disabilities; Brenda Considine, consultant, N.J. Council on Developmental Disabilities; Irene LeFebvre, chair, NJSBA Special Education Committee and member, Boonton Town Board of Education, and Sharon Schueler, Middlesex Borough Board of Education.