• Text of Missouri House Bill 555

     

    162.946. 1. Each district school board may require schools within the district to provide disability history and awareness instruction in all K-12 public schools during the month of October of each year. The month of October shall be designated "Disability History and Awareness Month".

    2. During disability history and awareness month, students may be provided instruction to expand their knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, the history of disability, and the disability rights movement.

    3. Disability history may include the events and time lines of the development and evolution of services to, and the civil rights of, individuals with disabilities. Disability history may also include the contributions of specific individuals with disabilities, including the contributions of acknowledged national leaders. The instruction may be integrated into the existing school curriculum in ways including, but not limited to, supplementing lesson plans, inviting classroom and assembly speakers with experience or expertise on disabilities, or providing other school-related activities. The instruction may be delivered by qualified school personnel or by knowledgeable guest speakers.

    4. The goals of the disability history and awareness instruction include:

    (1) 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;

    (2) 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;

    (3) 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

    (4) Reaffirmation of the local, state, and federal commitment to the full inclusion in society of, and the equal opportunity for, all individuals with disabilities.

    The department of elementary and secondary education may identify and adopt preliminary guidelines for each district school board to use to develop its curriculum that incorporates these goals for the disability history and awareness instruction. In respect of local control, school districts are encouraged to exercise innovation that accomplishes the above-stated goals.

    5. Institutions of higher education within the state are encouraged to conduct and promote activities on individual campuses that provide education, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities.