Missouri Disability History and Awareness:
In May 2011, the Missouri legislature passed House Bill 555, which authorizes school boards to require the provision of disability history and awareness instruction in public schools during the month of October of each year. House Bill 555 further requires the month of October to be designated "Disability History and Awareness Month".
House Bill 555 was sponsored by Representative Jeff Grisamore and was actively supported by disability advocates across Missouri. Many Missouri disability organizations advocated with legislative leaders, provided testimony on behalf of the bill, and worked diligently to see the bill move successfully through the legislative session.
The goals of disability history and awareness instruction in House Bill 555 are:
- Instilling in students sensitivity for fellow students with disabilities and encouraging educational cultures that nurture safe and inclusive environments for students with disabilities in which bullying is discouraged and respect and appreciation for students with disabilities is encouraged;
- An understanding that disability is a natural part of the human experience; we are all more alike than different; and regardless of disability, every citizen is afforded the same rights and responsibilities as that of any other;
- The creation of a more inclusive school community, where students with disabilities are included in every aspect of society, and every student is acknowledged for their unique gifts, talents, and contributions; and
- Reaffirmation of the local, state, and federal commitment to the full inclusion in society of, and the equal opportunity for, all individuals with disabilities.