Ms. Palmer's interest in advocacy stems from her belief that we should be helping prepare children to become productive members of our community, rather than the alternatives. She told me that one of the factors prison analysts use to plan the number of prison cells needed in the future is the number of children who haven't learned to read by third grade. Another attorney shared that a Florida school district spent over $800,000 in legal fees during a long, arduous and contentious litigation defending a school district's abusive and discriminatory actions towards a student. Florida's School for the Deaf and Blind spent over $1.9 million in the past three years to defend discriminating against those with behavioral challenges, rather than implementing instructional solutions. All these examples (and those we really hope you will post here, along with your zipcode so we can use them to help educate legislators) represent the wrong headed thinking of schools that litigate instead of correcting the underlying issue that some children simply do not receive the educational support they need. This support could be easily provided at a fraction of the cost to build and support new jail cells or fighting parent's requests for an appropriate education.
As a result of her convictions and numerous attempts to help procure reasonable educational services, Ms. Palmer decided that Section 1057 of the Florida Statutes needed a comprehensive overhaul to ensure that students get the support they need. A copy of Ms. Palmer’s proposed rewrite is available here: Section 1003.57 F.S. Comprehensive Revision
Your support, your stories can help us convince our legislators that we need to update Section 1003.57 to help our students get the support they need.