“Fighting the good fight…it’s all for the kids”


Bad ass of the week: Monique Painton


Special Educator working with Oakland youth facing the daily challenges of intellectual disabilities grades 6-8

Awareness: This article is meant to spread awareness of the lack of educational and general life resources available to people with intellectual disabilities in our community.

i.e. continuing education after high school, help with placement in homes

While volunteering in classrooms as a student herself, Monique was saddened and appalled by the obvious lack of resources, help and general funding available for our youth in need. Majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education, she dedicated her education and career focus on fighting to be the voice for her students. She worked as an “Intervention specialist” for one year and has been teaching all subjects in a self-contained classroom for children with intellectual disabilities for the last four years.

Within the lesson plans, students are not only provided with general education, but taught how to live independently through a “Life Skills Curriculum”. In a compassionate, safe and nurturing environment student learn how to do their laundry, cook basic meals and care for their personal needs. These programs are essential to the transition period from the controlled environments of school to independent living. If unable to adapt to caring for themselves independently and stable with others in a group home environment it becomes more difficult to find placement within their financial means. The cost of placement in homes that can provide the care and specialized attention they need is outside of many Oakland youth’s reach.

Outside of the classroom, Monique fights to provide the continued State/City funding for resources such as “Inclusion programs” available to these students. These programs allow the educator to sit with their students while attending elective courses in community college forums. They have personal knowledge of their student’s triggers and how to help remove them from a potentially bad situation and ground them after dealing with external stressors in their environment.

Sadly, even in this day and age students with disabilities are still extremely limited in their resources for advancement in education or employment. Once done with high school they may be able to utilize programs within such community colleges as Laney College for electives. You read that right electives; not educational courses.

Where is their opportunity for continuing education?

 “We have as much to learn from these children as they do from us; the world would be a better place if we stopped to learn the things they have to teach us about love and life.”-M

The woman under the armor:

At the end of a long day fighting for the greater good, she enjoys coming home to her garden, treadmill and a good record. A vegetarian foodie, she unwinds by tending to the immaculate garden surrounding her home; running on the treadmill and listening to some damn good music while cooking with her beau.

Top 3 favorite bands:

Dreaming Dead, Deathgrave & Necrot.

An avid supporter of Female fronted bands, “Dreaming Dead” and “Deathgrave” are two of her favorite bands with Strong females leading the way. Necrot is local to Oakland and quickly making it on every local’s list of favorites within the Oakland music scene.

Monique doesn’t need an army behind her to get in the trenches and fight for what she believes in. She is driven by the love she has for her kids and the travesties of the injustices in this world they can’t always be shielded from. She gets up in the morning determined to make a difference in the lives of the children in our community who need our love the most.

Monique Painton Oakland 

If you have resources that could help Oakland’s intellectually disabled youth or want to find out how to volunteer, send your inquiry here:     monique.painton@ousd.k12.ca.us