Racial Concerns And Teacher Shortages In Special Education

special education

The attorneys and advocates of A2Z Educational Advocates had the opportunity to hear Hasan Davis deliver the Opening Keynote address at the 2016 COPAA Conference in Philadelphia on March 11, 2015.  Hasan shared his own story about the special education system, his time as a juvenile deliquent and how he went on to earn his GED, college degree and his law degree.  Hasan shared some startling statistics with the over 600 participants at the Conference, including that an estimated 70% of justice-involved youth have disabilities, including psychiatric, mental health, sensory, and intellectual disabilities as well as co-occurring disorders. [1] Hasan shared his own story of being a student in the special education system and how he was often told what he could not do by adults along the way.  He also shared how his mother and other educators, however, told him he could be anything he wanted to be and how that gave him hope to keep going.  Hasan shared his powerful journey of being a high school dropout to earning his GED and moving on to college, where he was expelled twice but eventually earned his degree.  Hasan then moved on to law school where he had to advocate for himself in order to be given the accommodations he needed to thrive in that setting.  Hasan’s journey from juvenile delinquent to Juris Doctor was empowering and uplifting and proof that great things can happen when adults are “hope dealers” for children instead of “hope stealers.”



[1] National Disability Rights Network