By Abigail P.

Over the course of the 2024 legislative session, SPYAC members created blog content as a way to advocate for special education and other issues that matter to them. Through this blog series, the coalition is sharing their work and uplifting their important perspectives on school, disability, our education system, and more because we believe youth are experts in their own experiences.


My name is Abigail P., my legislative district is District 8, and I live in Richland Washington. I am a part of the Student Potential Youth Advocacy Council, which is a group of students who have experienced the special education system in public schools led by the coalition Investing in Student Potential.

My issue is that schools are and have been getting away with delaying the process of getting an IEP or 504 plan without any repercussions because they don’t want to or have the ability to give out resources since they aren’t getting enough funding.

This matters to me because it is something that happened to me. I was put on the process of getting tested to see if I even needed to get an IEP, and I had to wait almost a year before I eventually moved schools and got tested there. They told me that I didn’t qualify to be tested for an IEP because I needed help with executive functioning skills, but I was on level for learning academic skills. Not only did this affect my grades drastically, but it also affected my mental health. The school told me at the end of my time there that I could either go on with my current education, which was not meeting my needs, or switch to an alternative learning school. I did switch schools, but the fact is, I shouldn’t have had to do that, the school should have been upfront about their inability to help me, but also should of had the ability to help me succeed.

You should care about this because not only is this illegal, and schools have been using loopholes to get around this, but I am not the only one with a story similar to this. This majorly affects students’ well-being in school. They aren’t getting the accommodation they need, this can be seen as grades dropping and mental health declining as well. Many students don’t have the opportunities I did to switch to a different school and have to go on with an education that doesn’t provide them with what they need, or they might just drop out completely.

Something I want you to do is make clearer laws, making it known to schools that this isn’t ok, as well as making sure that schools have enough funding to serve students in the ways that they need.



Abigail is a 10th grader in the Richland School District and member of the Student Potential Youth Advisory Council (SPYAC). SPYAC is a new initiative and program part of the Investing in Student Potential coalition that aims to gather, support, and center the voices of students with disabilities in Washington education policy and advocacy work. The program launched last year through the Investing in Student Potential coalition (ISP) and is an essential part of the coalition’s commitment to adjusting our systems to accommodate the complex and diverse needs of students in Washington public schools. The SPYAC is made up of a diverse group of young people of different ages, geographies, disabilities, backgrounds, school districts, and more. They are passionate young leaders interested in disability rights, educational systems, state and/or local law-making processes, and tools for effective advocacy and leadership. The SPYAC also shares decision-making power with the broader ISP advocacy coalition and helps shape the future of this program for following cohorts.