maaps Letter to the Editor - The Boston Globe

Dover Amendment Provides Key Protection to Students with Special Needs
Posted on 07/26/2019

Re “Bill could limit nonprofits’ power to bypass zoning” by Jon Chesto (Business, July 17): One more reason everyone in Massachusetts should be thankful the Legislature enacted the so-called Dover Amendment in 1950 is the protection it guarantees to one of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations: students with special needs.

The Dover Amendment ensures that cities or towns cannot exercise their preference as to which kind of educational uses are welcomed, and thereby it circumvents longstanding prejudices against the disability community. Throughout the Commonwealth, this landmark law has been instrumental in providing those with disabilities access to a range of critically needed educational, daily living, and skill-building services with peers in the community. Schools that teach skills to address the effects of learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, and physical disabilities are all protected by the Dover Amendment from outright exclusion from cities and towns through local zoning.

Massachusetts is first in the nation in education, and one major reason is our Commonwealth’s commitment to education for all students, including students with special education needs.

Elizabeth D.R. Becker

Executive Director

Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools

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