top of page
Headshot Young Girl

Rebecca "Erin" Comninaki


United States

download (8).png
download (9).png


A challenge I'm currently experiencing in education is the inadequate inclusion of student voices and student advocates for students with disabilities in decision-making processes that directly affect their learning experiences and access to accommodations. Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) are required for each school division in Virginia. Despite the primary objective of SEACs being to offer a platform to influence how school divisions deliver services to students with disabilities, there is a conspicuous absence of direct student involvement. Currently, SEACs primarily involve parents, educators, and community representatives. These committees, despite their importance, operate without direct student involvement. This gap in representation undermines the effectiveness of SEACs in devising solutions that genuinely reflect the needs and challenges faced by students with disabilities. Furthermore, the lack of designated student advocacy groups within schools that include student representation from students with disabilities and their allies undermines student agency by not providing a platform for students to voice their concerns, share their experiences, and contribute to decision-making processes. Many students are not fully informed or do not understand their IEPs, including their entitlements to specialized instruction and accommodations. This knowledge gap is compounded by unique barriers that students with disabilities face, which may hinder or complicate their ability to advocate for themselves. As a result, the onus falls on teachers to recognize and fulfill these needs without the structured support and a system of checks and balances that student advocacy groups could provide. The lack of advocacy leaves students with disabilities vulnerable to inconsistencies in the application of their IEPs, potentially affecting their educational outcomes and equal access to learning opportunities. Therefore, the absence of student voices and advocates perpetuates a significant gap in the educational system, directly affecting the inclusivity and effectiveness of services provided to students with disabilities.

bottom of page