The news goes from terrifying to unthinkable. A kindergarten classroom. Mostly children dead. As many as a dozen? More than a dozen? My friends, neighbors, family with so many connections to this horror. Newtown friends and clients. First responders. My dear friends in the Danbury ER.
It shouldn't be.
The debates begin. Gun control. Mental illness. Speculation about the shooter. My brain hurts with the memories. All the memories of all the meetings over all the years of frantic parents, having to fight so many systems to get their kids help. Kids with mental illness who are in crisis." My kid needs help. Lots of help. Therapeutic services, throughout the day." The insurance company responds: "Oh, during the day you say? Well, that's an educational issue." Okay, let's go to the school district. "Mental Health services, you say? So sorry, that's medical." Services denied. Crisis not averted.
It shouldn't be easier to access guns than mental health services.
How about this for an idea? Let's take all of that money we're spending on the clearly failed and so-called "War on Drugs," and use it to finally fully-fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This must stop. The lives of all of our children depend on it.
This guest column was originally a blog post by Sherman attorney Jennifer Laviano, whose practice focuses on special education. It is reprinted with permission.
Attorney Jennifer Laviano is in private practice in Sherman. Her office represents children and adolescents with disabilities under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.