Letter to the editor: Reader questions special education program moves
Blindsided. That is how I continue to feel regarding the decision to move my daughter and her classmates in the Grant Elementary special education program to Madison Elementary. The move and the explanation still continue to escape me a week after my initial meeting with school staff.
In the past week I have had many questions come to mind. I wonder how this decision was arrived at and how the idea came about. I wonder if the children were put first in this decision since you are taking a group that does not always enjoy change and moving them — some for only one year — to an entirely different school.
This was justified to me by saying Madison was smaller and more “homey,” but now I have heard the early childhood program is moving to Grant. Therefore, you have decided to move younger kids to a bigger, less “homey” school and moving children already familiar to Grant to entirely foreign place with no friends, no familiar faces in class, and with a very vague plan that was presented.
It seems as though the idea of the “neighborhood school” was entirely thrown out the window for reasons not clearly presented, which only leads me to believe it is budgetary or convenient to the adults, not the students, that are involved.
I also believe the students that are being forced out of the “neighborhood school” did not have their siblings taken into consideration. Our children are close, and Hannah’s brother was also upset by Hannah being forced away to a different school because of her disability. How do I justify the fact that Hannah cannot go to the same grade school because she’s different? Are other siblings, other “regular” students being split up for the convenience of a program?
Were any other solutions, to a problem that no one knew existed, entertained? Did anyone on the board or in the district consider other options? Should parents be made aware of these options?
Will my daughter be assured she will have an aide that really knows her, not just a person to fill a spot for a day, someone who can successfully adapt situations in a regular classroom to ensure Hannah is getting all she can out of all the lessons being taught, someone who knows what Hannah needs to know in the classroom and model behavior and life skills Hannah can use every day?
Hannah is not put in the Marshfield school system’s care daily just to fill up her minutes of aide time with anyone. We chose Marshfield school system because of its variety of students from a variety of backgrounds so she and her brother get an education to prepare them for life. We did not expect her to be moved around and filed away for the convenience of the system.
I would appreciate it if the board would reconsider their decision and keep the kids at Grant with their friends and familiar staff that know them so they can learn in an environment that already feels “homey” to them. If more or different staff is needed to make the Grant special education program work, that should be re-evaluated.
I believe our whole family and several other families would be relieved to know our kids are where they enjoy being already and that the services they need are being provided to them with excellence. We want what we always want for Hannah and her brother: what is best for them. That is why we chose Marshfield school in the first place. Please reconsider.