A well-known rite of passage in Oregon public schools is participating in Outdoor School. According to a study commissioned by the Oregon Community Foundation, in the 2011-2012 school year about 12% of Oregon fifth graders and about 50% of Oregon sixth graders participated in an Outdoor School program.
Yet, one student, despite attending an elementary school that offers outdoor school, may not be able to participate in the program due to her school’s inability to accommodate her disability, according to a story aired on KATU TV. Bryten Figgins, a sixth grader at Clackamas River Elementary, has been excluded from all class field trips the past two school years due to the failure of her school to provide accommodations for her. Bryten has Osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Her mother, Teryl Figgins, is passionate about Bryten’s right to participate in a traditional school experience, and to bond with her classmates. Figgins has been advocating that her daughter be allowed to attend Outdoor School with her classmates. However, the school will not provide the necessary aid for Bryten, despite Oregon law requiring that all students be given equal opportunities. The school cites worry over the possibility of Bryten being injured during the trip.
What do you think should be done in this situation? Is the school justified? How can Bryten fulfill her desire to share a common experience with her classmates?
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