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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3 in 10 Children in the Juvenile Justice System Have Learning Disabilities

The National Center for Learning Disabilities

By Meghan Casey
NCLD Policy & Advocacy Associate

May 25, 2014

It’s no secret that students with disabilities are suspended, expelled and involved with the criminal justice system at a higher rate than their peers. But the numbers might be higher than you think.

Did you know that 1 out of every 2 students with learning disabilities (LD) has been suspended or expelled? Or that more than half of all people with LD will have some type of involvement with the criminal justice system within eight years of leaving high school?

The numbers are startling, and you can get even more facts from our State of Learning Disabilities 2014.

Now we have more information about how big this problem is. A new report recently highlighted what’s happening in juvenile justice facilities in the South. It states that 30 percent of kids in juvenile justice facilities have been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Yet only 22 percent are receiving special education services.

This means that many kids who need help are not receiving it. The fact is the justice system is not equipped to provide the education that all students deserve.

More kids becoming involved with the justice system means fewer kids graduating with a diploma. We can’t keep waiting to address this crisis. NCLD cares about this issue and is working on a plan so that we can make a difference. To stay updated on how we’re getting involved and working to end this problem, follow our public policy team on Twitter.

You can also sign up here to join our email list of 60,000 advocates across the country. Whatever you do, share this knowledge and spread the words to your family and friends. The more people who know and care, the more of a difference we can make.


Meghan Casey is the Policy Research & Advocacy Associate at NCLD. She is part of the Public Policy and Advocacy team which implements NCLD’s legislative strategy in Washington, D.C., and advances government policies that support the success of individuals with learning disabilities in school, at work and in life.

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