Are inclusive classrooms failing students?
Lisa Kahn developed a daily routine this fall. She’d eat breakfast, feed her family and get her two children ready for school – Grayson, a seven-year-old boy with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, and his older sister, Avery. After she dropped them off, she’d practise deep breathing with help from an app on her watch.
And then she would brace herself for the phone call.
At some point during the day, she knew that Grayson’s school was likely to call and ask her to pick him up because he was causing trouble. If she made it through the day without the phone ringing, she’d steel herself at pickup for a staff member to approach and tell her about something awful her son had done.
Ms. Kahn had hoped the school could accommodate Grayson’s developmental disorder – he was diagnosed with autism in the summer of 2017, and while he’s verbal and can impressively add figures in his head, he becomes aggressive if rules change or the work becomes too difficult.
But in September, he was suspended for part of the day after attempting to push an educational assistant down the stairs. A couple of weeks later, he picked up a chair and tossed it at another child. On other occasions, he punched, shoved, kicked and threatened staff and other students, school administrators say.