South Shore districts flagged for special education disproportionality

This is the second in a two-part series. Read the first here. 

WEYMOUTH — Four South Shore school districts were flagged by the state in the last academic year for disproportionately identifying Black and African American students with certain special education needs compared to peers of other ethnicities. 

The state, as part of a federal law, monitors districts’ special education classifications and those that see significant disproportionality by ethnicity are required to review and, if necessary, revise their policies.

Milton and Scituate were flagged for disproportionately categorizing Black students as having communication disabilities. Weymouth was identified for disproportionately classifying Black students with intellectual disabilities and Hingham found specific learning disabilities in Black students at a higher rate than compared to their peers. 

The National Center for Learning Disabilities says systemic racial biases can lead to the overclassification of minority students as requiring special education and that this placement isn’t an adequate tool to teach students that don’t need it. 

Janelle B. Smith

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