The largest group of callers to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line are teachers. Some of these calls, and some of the most distressing, are from teachers working in special education environments with young, teenage or adult clients with special needs. The serial bully is attracted to roles with opportunities for power and control over vulnerable clients and employees who, because of their dedication and commitment to clients, are easily manipulated with guilt.
In the UK, government policy has been to move special needs children into mainstream schools, ostensibly for reasons of integration, but in reality to save money. Dumping emotionally disturbed and behaviourally disturbed children in a class of 35 children is a recipe for disaster but budget targets have to be met. On my Advice Line I have heard cases of special needs children being denied the opportunity to take examinations because it is estimated they will achieve a low pass which will adversely affect the school's position in league tables.
Special education and special needs children and adults are often the focus for bullying, harassment and abuse. To see if you've experienced bullying, click here. Then explore Bully OnLine to learn how to recognize and deal with those who would bully you, had you not empowered yourself with the information on this web site.
Wrightslaw contains a wealth of information about effective advocacy for children with disabilities.
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