Students with disabilities who seek admission to the Connecticut Technical and Education Career System (CTECS- formerly known as “CTHSS”) are frequently refused admission, counseled out of applying or enrolling, or discriminated against in other ways.
In denying entry to these students, or pushing them out once enrolled, CTECS relies upon its interpretation of C.G.S. §10-76q(c) which states:
If a planning or placement team determines that a student requires special education services which preclude such student’s participation in the vocational educational program offered by a technical high school, the student shall be referred to the board of education in the town in which the student resides for the development of an individualized educational program and such board of education shall be responsible for the implementation and financing of such program.
This statute contravenes the federal law that requires the provision of special education services to children with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as the federal laws that protect such students from discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This law must be repealed. It is the only state statute that provides a loophole to IDEA. No other public school can discriminate in this way.
Instead, CTECS should be treated like any other Local Educational Authority (“LEA”), or school district. They must be required to accept children with disabilities, and to provide programming that suits their needs. With proper accommodations and modifications, many students with disabilities would be successful in learning a trade. In fact, some states have specific programs set up just for this purpose, finding that training students with disabilities provides a benefit to the student, and a cost-savings to both the district and state in the long run.
YES! I plan to stand up for the rights if students with disabilities by testifying on HB 5300.