The attached document from Sarah Robinson and Ian Robinson identify the loss of educational benefits that voucher students can lose.

Dear Mr. Phillis:

We must publicize and fix the fact that Ohio’s special needs voucher programs are promoting and financing educational segregation at public expense.

The voucher program supports private schools, which unlike public schools, charge a fee just to apply and are left free to decide whom to admit or reject. Moreover, that such schools have the ability to accept or reject an application for admission opens the door to secretly pervert state and federal anti-discrimination laws. To be eligible for registration, a private provider should demonstrate that it shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin (OAC 3301-101-09), but this regulation does not forbid discrimination on the basis of disability. Additionally, parents who accept a Jon Peterson special-needs scholarship program voucher must give up their child’s right to be included in general education. However, these parents are systematically not informed of this fact.

Under state and federal law, students with a disability are entitled to receive a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”) under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (OAC 3301-101-12). However, under the state voucher program, parents and students relinquish their due process rights and their right to a free appropriate public education under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Ohio Operating Standards for Students with Disabilities. In addition, private providers are not required to provide all of the services included in the IEP. Parents have to sign a waiver of such rights. Students and their parents’ due process rights are further abridged in that they are forbidden to allege or seek redress for any violation of any requirements involving the implementation of their IEP and whether the child has received a free and appropriate public education.

In most cases this means that their children will be entirely excluded from state and federal protections. They will likely attend a totally segregated school with literally no possibility of learning alongside non-disabled students. While some parents might voluntarily choose this kind of exclusionary education they should not be tricked into doing so. There is virtually no public awareness of this deceptive practice and the resulting rollback of civil rights for people with disabilities.

Please help inform the public on this issue and encourage all to remedy these discrepancies that cause harm to Ohio students.

Sincerely yours,

Sarah Robinson, Retired Licensed Social Worker

Ian Robinson, Attorney at Law

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