We have teachers at odds with parents, we have school board members at odds with both parties. I only know what my administrators feel based on a survey. What we need now is a district wide IEP meeting. If anyone can solve the problem of getting children back to school its the special needs community.
We have been negotiating school and what it looks like for our kids for years. We often don’t get everything we want or need, but we get something we can work with at each meeting. It tends to get better with time. At the table are teachers, administrators, a parent, and an advocate who knows the system. We need that table right now. An open discussion for solutions and accommodations.
Special needs families have perhaps the most to lose if school doesn’t come back. Its not just about academics. Its about services like occupational therapy. Its about life skills that are taught and its about our kids’ quality of life throughout a painful time. School will in no way solve all our problems, but it might help bring back some essential needs of kids who rely on schools for therapy.
Likewise special education teachers are perhaps the most at risk. Many children, in what some call regional programs and others call confined classrooms, will not be able to wear masks. If masks are the key than we need to make sure our teachers have other reliable personal protection equipment. They indeed need a higher quality mask and maybe even air purifiers. These teachers will need to move and hold their students.
So, admins what can you provide already? What don’t you have, but believe through PTA, community help, and a big ask of our government can you get? Is it possible to make this work? How comfortable are you with the situation and do you see something parents and teachers don’t see?
Finally, our school board members are there to listen. They are there to moderate because everyone is tense. Its safety, its quality of life, and for special needs kids its knowing that failure to act might mean a lawsuit. They are there to make a decision. Ideally we’d invite even more stakeholders from transportation and support services, but hey no IEP meeting is perfect either.
Are we doing this and replicating it all around our districts? I know there are emails and meetings. However, how many meetings are there with teachers and administrators. I know as a parent, I’m invited to very few in which many stakeholders are in attendance. My Board Advisory Council hasn’t met since June. As our county approaches a vote, shouldn’t we try this model before we go any further?
We might fail completely. Maybe we only get the doors open for a few children. I can’t imagine tensions between all parties getting any worse than they already are. I call an IEP meeting for Wake County children to discuss the reopening of schools. Who’s with me?