Focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act

Inside Upper School Assembly

Continuing the conversation about disability awareness begun with our summer reading, Upper Schoolers at assembly gained insight into the Americans with Disabilities Act from guest speaker Katherine “Katy” Neas, who serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. From 1987-91, Neas was legislative staff to the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, in which capacity she worked on the ADA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Noting that the ADA was modeled after the Civil Rights Act, Neas described the ADA, which had wide bipartisan support, as a “comprehensive civil rights law giving people with disabilities access to mainstream American life.”

For her audience of Upper Schoolers born after the act passed in 1990, Neas detailed the changes it brought to our society, including accessible architecture and transportation, closed captioning and audio books, flexible work hours, and the legal standing to challenge discrimination related to disabilities.

“In our history we excluded people. Students with disabilities were often sent from their homes to receive an education at state institutions,” said Neas. “We all have a place in our communities, and we should all be included in our communities.” Enjoy the video of her presentation.
Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.