Special education students are vital to positive environment at South

Graphic by Eva McCord 21.

Graphic by Eva McCord ’21.

Tower Editorial Board

You may have seen a special education student working at Farms Market during the school day, or eaten lunch with them for Peer2Peer. You may have a class with one of the students or just be friends with them. In whatever way you have connected with these students, it is clear that what makes South’s special education (special ed) so significant is the positive individuals that make it up.

We at the Tower believe the special ed students serve as a vital part of South’s student body. The students that make up this community are integral to South’s population as a whole, and, without them, our student body would be lacking. It is important that these students are given the opportunity to grow, considering their importance to South.

According to the US Department of Defense Education Activity, the purpose of special education in public schools are to serve the needs of every student, regardless of physical or mental disabilities. This serves as a path for students with disabilities to learn in a way that is geared to their strengths and gives a sufficient opportunity to learn in a way that’s effective for them.

The foundation for special education should be to maximize the potential of all students within the department and not merely conform to a traditional classroom setting, according to the Council for Exceptional Children. Both traditional and specifically special ed classrooms should be tailored to students’ needs. This is important because it better helps special ed students to achieve their full potential, as they create a more positive, effective environment for the South community as a whole.

However, special ed students still learn in classrooms with general ed students. Many students spend time in both classrooms to fit their specific needs. Generally educated students can and should interact with special education students in their classes, as it’s a valuable experience for both parties. Whether it be through supplementary aids or support, it is imperative that special education students are given the tools they need to succeed and prosper during their time at South, and creating a connection with generally educated students is an effective tool to achieve this.

When these students are given the opportunity to succeed, they have their greatest positive effect on our community. These students create such a positive and friendly environment at South that has become vital to South’s culture and atmosphere. From opening doors for students during passing time to even saying hello in the hallways, special education students enrich the South community in small, yet important ways.

There are a wide variety of ways to connect and get to know the special education students on a closer level. Whether it be joining Peer2Peer and eating lunch or getting to know a special ed student through various classes, the ways that general education students can not only interact, but form a bond with these students is great.

The relationship between special ed and non-special education students is strong now, but it is still important we continue to grow and strengthen these friendships. Finding new ways to create meaningful, lasting relationships with students, especially in special education is imperative. Every student at South plays a part in helping build a greater relationship with their fellow peers at South. Creating new friendships and personally interacting with the students in the special education community is an effective way to greater strengthen this relationship.