Florida Senate - 2011                                     SB 578
       By Senator Ring
       32-00307A-11                                           2011578__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to disability awareness; amending s.
    3         1003.4205, F.S.; requiring district school boards to
    4         provide disability history and awareness instruction
    5         in all K-12 public schools during the first week in
    6         October; requiring certified individuals in disability
    7         awareness or teachers who specialize in exceptional
    8         student education to provide the disability history
    9         and awareness instruction; requiring the Governor’s
   10         Commission on Disabilities to initiate a study on
   11         training in disability awareness to be conducted by a
   12         private nonprofit entity; providing requirements for
   13         the study and requiring submission of findings to the
   14         commission; requiring the commission to oversee a
   15         statewide program for providers of training in
   16         disability awareness; providing program components to
   17         include requirements for approval of providers and
   18         certification of individuals who provide instruction
   19         in disability awareness; providing for the payment of
   20         certain fees; requiring the commission to promote
   21         training in disability awareness in all public
   22         entities in the state; requiring the commission to
   23         encourage those public entities to participate in
   24         activities that provide instruction to expand
   25         knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals
   26         who have disabilities; requiring the commission to
   27         adopt rules; providing an effective date.
   29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   31         Section 1. Section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, is amended
   32  to read:
   33         1003.4205 Disability history and awareness instruction.—
   34         (1) Each district school board shall may provide disability
   35  history and awareness instruction in all K-12 public schools in
   36  the district during the first week 2 weeks in October each year.
   37  The district school board shall designate this week these 2
   38  weeks as “Disability History and Awareness Week Weeks.”
   39         (2)(a) During this 1-week 2-week period, students shall may
   40  be provided intensive instruction to expand their knowledge,
   41  understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities,
   42  the history of disability, and the disability rights movement.
   43  Disability history must may include the events and timelines of
   44  the development and evolution of services to, and the civil
   45  rights of, individuals with disabilities. Disability history
   46  must may also include the contributions of specific individuals
   47  with disabilities, including the contributions of acknowledged
   48  national leaders.
   49         (b) The instruction shall may be integrated into the
   50  existing school curriculum in ways including, but not limited
   51  to, supplementing lesson plans, holding school assemblies, or
   52  providing other school-related activities. Beginning with the
   53  2012-2013 school year, the instruction must may be delivered by
   54  individuals who are certified to provide instruction in
   55  disability awareness qualified school personnel or by
   56  knowledgeable guest speakers, with a particular focus on
   57  including individuals who have with disabilities as instructors,
   58  or by teachers who are currently employed at a school and who
   59  specialize in exceptional student education at the school.
   60         (3) The goals of disability history and awareness
   61  instruction include:
   62         (a) Better treatment for individuals who have with
   63  disabilities, especially for youth in school, and increased
   64  attention to preventing the bullying or harassment of students
   65  who have with disabilities.
   66         (b) Encouragement to individuals who have with disabilities
   67  to develop increased self-esteem, resulting in more individuals
   68  who have with disabilities gaining pride in being an individual
   69  with a disability, obtaining postsecondary education, entering
   70  the workforce, and contributing to their communities.
   71         (c) Reaffirmation of the local, state, and federal
   72  commitment to the full inclusion in society of, and the equal
   73  opportunity for, all individuals who have with disabilities.
   74         Section 2. Disability awareness training standards,
   75  protocol, and curriculum; certification.—
   76         (1) The Governor’s Commission on Disabilities shall
   77  initiate a study regarding training in disability awareness
   78  beginning July 1, 2011, to be conducted by a private nonprofit
   79  entity that promotes disability awareness in the classroom and
   80  the community at large and provides training in disability
   81  awareness. State agencies and programs shall cooperate with the
   82  private nonprofit entity as it conducts the study to establish
   83  training standards, protocol, and curriculum with regard to
   84  disability awareness. Within the study, the private nonprofit
   85  entity shall:
   86         (a) Evaluate and recommend to the commission standards and
   87  criteria necessary for authorizing providers to conduct training
   88  in disability awareness.
   89         (b) Establish guidelines and curriculum for a certification
   90  program for disability awareness instructors.
   91         (c) Provide to the commission a summary of the current
   92  trends in training in disability awareness.
   94  The private nonprofit entity conducting the study shall submit
   95  its findings to the commission by July 1, 2011.
   96         (2) Beginning July 1, 2012, the commission shall oversee a
   97  statewide program for providers of training and certified
   98  instructors in disability awareness which includes, but is not
   99  limited to, the following components:
  100         (a) A training provider must meet all criteria established
  101  and published by the commission in order to be approved to
  102  conduct continuing education courses for certifying individuals
  103  as instructors in disability awareness. A provider may charge a
  104  service fee for the continuing education courses in an amount
  105  that is sufficient to cover its costs in providing the courses.
  106         (b) In order to be approved by the commission, a provider
  107  of training in disability awareness must have a minimum of 5
  108  years of experience working in the field of disabilities, submit
  109  an application to the commission to provide training in
  110  disability awareness, pay an application or renewal fee set by
  111  the commission not to exceed $200, and submit an annual report
  112  to the commission which documents the provider’s training
  113  activities. An approved provider shall renew its approved status
  114  with the commission every 3 years.
  115         (c) An approved provider shall use the commission’s
  116  approved training methods and curriculum materials for
  117  conducting continuing education courses.
  118         (d) The commission shall publish and make available to the
  119  public a list of providers approved to offer training for
  120  certifying individuals as instructors in disability awareness.
  121         (e) An individual seeking certification to provide
  122  instruction in disability awareness shall participate in
  123  continuing education courses conducted by a commission-approved
  124  provider. The commission shall certify an individual as an
  125  instructor who successfully completes the required continuing
  126  education courses in disability awareness. This individual shall
  127  pay a certification or certification renewal fee set by the
  128  commission not to exceed $100, and the certified individual
  129  shall renew certification with the commission every 3 years.
  130         (3) The commission shall promote the inclusion in society
  131  of, and the equal opportunity for, individuals who have
  132  disabilities through training in disability awareness in all
  133  public entities in the state. The commission shall encourage
  134  those public entities to participate in activities that provide
  135  instruction to expand knowledge, understanding, and awareness of
  136  individuals who have disabilities, the history of disability
  137  awareness, and the disability rights movement.
  138         (4) The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss.
  139  120.536(1) and 120.54, Florida Statutes, to administer this
  140  section.
  141         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.