The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
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NDSS Statement on Meeting with NEA

Today, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) met with National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia to address disparaging remarks made during an awards ceremony in October.  

Garcia, who has apologized for her poor choice of words in a statement and video by the NEA, and today she apologized directly to the leadership of NDSS and our constituents. Garcia assured NDSS that she and NEA believe that students of all abilities benefit from having their peers with disabilities in the classroom and that schools should be a supportive learning environment for everyone. NDSS feels that the meeting was very productive and that both sides would like to see people with Down syndrome achieve as much as possible in the classroom and beyond. 

“We are using this situation as an opportunity to open a constructive dialogue with the national organization that represents 3 million teachers in the US, all who play a tremendous and vital role in the success of students with Down syndrome in our public school system,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “Our meeting today was a great opportunity to discuss how we can all work together to foster a better culture of high expectations to better prepare students with Down syndrome for college and employment after graduation.” 

“I attended and participated in today’s meeting with the NEA. I thought it was a productive discussion, and as a self-advocate, I had the opportunity to share my experiences as a graduate of the public school system in Virginia,” said NDSS DS-Ambassador, JP Kennedy Fellow and Self-Advocate with NDSS, David Egan. “My feeling is that we never stop learning, and it’s important that we use this as a teachable moment to show the world what people like me can do.“ 

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