Letter: Urging School Committee to keep Special Ed. staff intact

Dear school committee members,

I’m writing to implore you to not further cut staff and services for special education.
Historically parents have had to often fight for the services their children need. If the special education budget is further cut it will make it that much more difficult for our children to get what they need. And on top of that, we have been virtually conducting school since 3/15. That means special education students are going to need compensatory services in order to not fall behind even further.
You may say that all students are in the same boat but I would disagree.  Special education students require explicit instruction from special educators which many are not receiving because of many different reasons. For example, my son has been getting reading services, but it is with a computerized program with some assistance from a special educator who also has two or three other students at the same time. He is getting very little from this and is not getting the direct instruction he was getting in school.
And think of the teachers, are you going to make larger class sizes when all students are so far behind? What about social distancing? I would think more money would be required to make classroom size smaller so the kids can be more spread out.
If there is any more virtual learning in the fall my son will be in a bad situation because he cannot learn this way.
I know you also may say that I need to go to the city council or the mayor.  If I go to the city council they will say they don’t control what gets cut. After 7 years of dealing with the school system I’m angry. My son needs direct services in order to graduate high school. He has the same cognitive ability but learns slower.  I’m tired of the consistent advocating I need to do for my son.
I’ve copied Westfield News on this email because at this point I believe most parents with students in special education are fed up with the current situation and feel that their children are going to fall even farther behind their peers. The school’s job is to close the gaps between special education students and typically developing students.  Cutting the special education budget will do the opposite.
Thank you for your attention.
Michele Douglas
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