Denmark: Immigrant families reject special-ed schools

Denmark: Immigrant families reject special-ed schools

Via Avisen (Danish):

In many immigrant families, parents object to their children being sent to special-ed schools.

"We use many resources to convince them that their children can't take part in regular classes. It's a crack in the family's pride, and often the parents decide in advance to change schools - typically to an ethnic private school," Sabah El Tawil, a teacher at Rådmandsgade School (Copenhagen), told Jyllands-Posten.

The paper spoke with various schools who all spoke of the trend.

According to Niels Egelund, professor of special education at Aarhus University, it's due to increased fear of stigmatization. At the same time, he warns of far-reaching consequences if the kids don't get the right type of help.

"The kids end up falling behind and risk remaining isolated and on the long term, socially marginalized," says Niels Egelund.

Sabah El Tawil estimates there's at least one bilingual student in every class, for which the parents reject the municipal offers.

Municipal advisers in Aalborg, Aarhus and Esbjerg have also seen that for immigrants, reluctant parents often stand in the way of sending their kids to special-ed schools. In many cases, they need to find an alternative that the parents can accept.