Local woman urges Council to support state bill on disabilities education

Nancy Ostroff, a Burholme resident pushing legislation to require schools to teach about disabilities in the younger grades, last week brought her fight to City Council.

Nancy Ostroff addresses City Council. Photo by Jack Tomczuk.

Ostroff spoke on Council Resolution 190839, introduced by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, calling on the General Assembly to adopt House Bill 590. That bill amends the Public School Code to add curriculum requirements for health classes across Pennsylvania to educate students in an age-appropriate manner about mental health, physical disabilities and developmental disabilities.

Ostroff is a retired teacher and disabilities education advocate who serves as secretary of the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association. She suffered a crushed spinal cord when she was rear-ended twice while driving. She became active when she saw an autistic boy bullied on Facebook.

Ostroff has written a curriculum, Shine a Light on Disabilities, and three related illustrated books, Chipster, Campster and Hamster.

There are bills in the state Senate and House of Representatives that would require disabilities education in kindergarten through third grade.

Ostroff told Council that no progress has been made in classrooms since the 1990 passage of the Ameicans with Disabilities Act.

“What an educational injustice,” she said.

Parker’s resolution references a bill introduced by Rep. Dan Miller, of Allegheny County. ••