WAMU 88.5 : News

Students With Disabilities Speak Out

Play associated audio

At the Youth Leadership Forum sponsored by the State Board for People with Disabilities, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell opened the event, by encouraging student delegates — all who have disabilities — to hold their elected officials accountable.

High School senior Jonathan Leonard, from Northern Virginia, was born two months premature, and as a result, has a rare disability that causes a speech impediment and other physical and mental problems. But still, he maintains a 3.0 grade point average. He says his biggest challenge has been other students and faculty.

"I would like to see public schools in Virginia to continue to receive funding to support students with disabilities against bullying and teasing," says McDonnell.

From Southside, High School junior Alexis Smith says she's had many challenges over the years, but wishes getting teachers to read her individualized education plan didn't have to be one of them. Smith offered a long list of recommendations, which caught the attention of Petersburg Delegate Roslyn Dance.

"You're right that there are no barriers to your learning," says Dance. "I'm very, very, impressed with what you have, and I think that's something that should be shared beyond just this forum."

Several lawmakers drove to Richmond to hear their constituents concerns for the purpose of crafting legislation. Some lawmakers also say there could be opportunities for these students to be mentored into one day becoming lawmakers themselves.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

7 Things To Know About Presidential Appointments To The Supreme Court

Republicans are adamant they will stop anyone President Obama names to replace for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. It's possible Obama's nominee would face the longest wait in history for a vote.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.