Urgent!! Save McDowell Co. WV Special Needs Preschool!
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We urgently need your help! The McDowell County Board of Education has decided to close the Special Needs Pre-K classrooms at Bradshaw Elementary, Southside, & Welch Elementary. This would result in all of the special needs children currently in a separate classroom being moved into the regular classroom with the rest of the Pre-k kids. This includes several autistic children, as well as other children with developmental delays and special needs. As yet, we have not been able to reach anyone at the board who can answer our concerns.
We are not saying that an all-inclusive classroom is a bad idea. We feel that parents who believe their children are ready should have the opportunity to place them in such an environment. However, parents who feel this would be the wrong thing for their child should also have the choice to keep them in a less restrictive environment.
Federal law requires that each child, regardless of disability, be given their best possible education in their least restrictive environment. We feel this move will not only negatively impact the education of the special needs children, but will be disruptive to the neurotypical children as well. For instance, our child's condition causes him to frequently need to run, so he is rarely still. He is non-verbal, but makes a lot of noise. So a running, squealing boy who won't sit down when told to (and perhaps cannot) will certainly disrupt the educational environment of other children. Another parent has a child who will eat anything in the classroom (crayons, dirt,paper, etc.) and will scratch and bite when he gets upset.
We understand that as yet, no one from the board has been to our children's classroom to evaluate them or observe them in their environment in order to begin to determine whether or not the all-inclusive classroom will be the best option for them. We have spoken to some of the other parents in our classroom and know that we are not the only ones who feel this way. Please sign this petition and help make our voices heard.
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