NDSC requests school districts examine their policies and procedures regarding student safety
ATLANTA (November 20, 2012) – In light of the recent death of a middle school student in Tampa, FL, the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) encourages all school districts to review their policies and procedures for supervising students with intellectual disabilities.
An internal investigation is continuing in the case of Jenny Caballero, an 11 year old with Down syndrome, who left her physical education class without the knowledge of school staff, and was found several hours later, drowned in a nearby retention pond. This tragic situation brings to the forefront the critical importance of having adequate support for students with special needs, particularly during transition times and in less structured activities and environments. In the case of Jenny Caballero, it was reported that more than 100 students, twenty of whom have disabilities, were in one room at the time of the girl’s disappearance.
The NDSC strongly supports the inclusion of students with Down syndrome with their typical peers. The organization urges school districts to remain committed to inclusive settings as directed by each student’s individual education program, while providing necessary supervision and support for all students.
NDSC encourages parents, family members, and advocates to take the lesson of this tragic incident to their school administrators, and ask them to review their own policies. It is imperative that this type of incident does not happen again.
“Our hearts go out to Jenny’s family,” said NDSC Executive Director, David Tolleson. “Parents of all children should be able to send their children to school knowing they are safe.”
To learn more about NDSC, go to www.ndsccenter.org.
About the National Down Syndrome Congress Founded in 1973, the National Down Syndrome Congress is the country’s oldest national organization for people with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. A 501(c)(3) non-profit advocacy organization, the NDSC provides free technical support and information about issues related to Down syndrome throughout the lifespan, as well as on matters of public policy relating to disability rights. Best known for its annual convention – the largest of its type in the world – the National Down Syndrome Congress is a grassroots organization recognized for its “family” feel, its “We’re More Alike than Different” public awareness campaign, and, its outreach to individuals from diverse backgrounds. The National Down Syndrome Congress is committed to creating a national climate in which all people will recognize and embrace the value and dignity of people with Down syndrome.