The authors address the current controversy regarding the exclusion of youths labeled socially maladjusted from special education services under the auspices of the seriously emotionally disturbed (SED) category. Both proponents and opponents of serving these students base their arguments largely on the analysis of specijk child characteristics that can differentiate between social maladjustment and serious emotional disturbance. Subscribing to this child-centered perspective limits the discussion and potential for its resolution. Rather than attempting to refute or support arguments presented by both sides in this debate, the authors have chosen to reconceptualize the issue from a cultural-organizational perspective. From this view-point, calls to exclude youths who are socially maladjusted result from a society that has Zittle tolerance for “deviant” behavior, and from schools that must maintain their legitimacy and popular support. Distinctions are made among participants in what has become a characteristic special education conflict.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health