Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Senator Kennedy

Senator Kennedy's wonderful career has been reviewed and discussed throughout the media and in households across America. One thing that I have not seen discussed is the fact that he has been a champion for children and the disabled. He was the sponsor of the 1975 IDEA law and its later amendments which guarantees disabled children a Free and Appropriate Education.

Thank you Senator Kennedy.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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Thanks for reminding us of Senator Kennedy's contributions to special education law. He and his siblings were remarkable for their advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities, at a time when these children were often sent to institutions and were not allowed in school.

When Eunice Kennedy Shriver died earlier this month, I started to write a short article about her for the Wrightslaw Way blog. As I read more, I remembered things I forgot, or didn't know. Did you know she began the Special Olympics as Camp Shriver in her backyard?

During her life, Mrs. Kennedy Shriver helped to build a worldwide movement of more than 3 million athletes with intellectual disabilities. In an NPR interview when she was 87, a reporter asked why she didn't relax. Her reply?

"It’s so outrageous, still. In so many countries, they’re not accepted in the schools. They’re not accepted in play programs. They’re just not accepted. So we have much to do.”

I read about this incredible woman for hours, as my short article grew into "Inspiration from Eunice Kennedy Shriver: A Woman With So Much to Do" at

We need people who inspire us, but they seem to be in short supply these days. This month, we lost two members of this generation of the Kennedy clan. We ask ourselves, "Who will replace them?"

I can't answer that question. Maybe the ball is in our court.

Posted by: Pam Wright | Aug 29, 2009 7:04:41 PM

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