Addressing Stigmatization and Bullying of Students with Disabilities: A Manual for K-2nd Inclusive Educators

How do elementary educators of students in Kindergarten-Second grade address and manage the social stigma of having a special education label and the bullying of students with disabilities in the inclusive setting? Over the last few decades, U.S. legislation in education has positively altered the course of academic achievement for students with special educational needs. The movement towards inclusive education to meet the mandated requirements of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) has helped bridge the gap between general education and special education students. However, the stigma related to the label of “special education” and bullying of students with disabilities remains a topic of concern. The purpose of this project was the development of a resource manual to provide inclusive educators with research-based methods and strategies to better address the stigma of special education labels and bullying of students with disabilities. The resource manual consists of four sections covering the topics of; (1) special education, (2) inclusive education, (3) strategies for addressing stigmatization and bullying within the inclusive environment, and (4) the appendices, which include sample resources for educators. The project was developed based upon the demographics that exist in school districts in Southern California.