Disbanding The Pioneer Special School Program Is Not An Option!

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SUPPORT THE UNSUPPORTED...disbanding the Pioneer Special School Program is not an option.

The Superintendent and the school board are participating in institutional racism, ableism, and classism by giving the home of the Pioneer students for the last 15 years to the ACCESS Academy without considering the needs of the already marginalized populations it serves. It is important to be clear on what Guadalupe Guerrero's decision looks like:

K-5 - will move as a whole to Applegate because it presents a “better learning environment.” Be clear, this school has no gym, library, kitchen, or play structure. Students will be denied a safe place for recess, exercise, and fun. 

Middle School – The classrooms will be moved to the Rice building (except two classrooms that do not fit due to the lack of space at Rice.) Again, Rice does not have a gym, library, kitchen, or play structure. There will be no hot lunch service on site.

High School – will be relocated to Marshall, where there are “more opportunities for peer inclusion, increased academic choices, and programming.” The stats show that they are seeing success at the High School level yet the out of district high school contracts for placement have more than doubled since the high school classrooms have been reintegrated into the general education setting.

 THE TRUTH

● Pioneer's student body is almost 50% students of color. ACCESS' student body is almost 70% white. Almost 50% of Pioneer students are in custody of the State of Oregon Department of Human Services. ACCESS students live at home with their parents. Most Pioneer students have experienced trauma (physical and/or sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, drug impaction, homelessness and instability). 100% of Pioneer students need special education. Only 15% of ACCESS students need special education. 

● Pioneer students will be moved to buildings that have no gym, no cafeteria, no library, and no play structure. It is discriminatory to give white privileged students better facilities than students with trauma and disabilities. The superintendent's plan will also displace the Applegate Head Start community which includes two classrooms specially designed for Native American children. 

● The superintendent's plan to displace Pioneer to house the ACCESS Academy under one roof ignored the district's policy of using the Racial Equity Lens before making decisions in a substantial way. The decision was made without identifying potential impacts on racial and ethnic groups. The decision did not consider how it would worsen existing disparities. The decision did not identify potential barriers to a more equitable outcome nor did it try to mitigate the negative effects of the plan.

● Guadalupe is pitting other worthy programs against each other. This district has buildings. ACCESS deserves the right to a space that meets their needs, but not at the reckless displacement of a vulnerable and severely traumatized population as those who are a part of the Pioneer community located at Holladay and Youngson.

WHAT WE KNOW

● Shutting the Pioneer Program, as a facility-based program, down will create an extremely UNSAFE environment for both staff and students. Expulsion rates will go up, injuries to staff will increase, and the attendance rate will decrease. This has been demonstrated historically and currently with the high school programs. 

● Pioneer houses staff with the highest level of experience. We have para-educators, teachers, and therapists who have been at Pioneer for 15+ years. Our community chooses to stay with the most unsupported population of students in the state. PPS has an extreme shortage of qualified mental health professions. Do not split up PPS’s dream team that support so many students, families, outside therapeutic teams, and other support entities.  

● This decision will not be “inclusive” of our students, but will instead be DISPLAYING them for ridicule from other general education students and staff.

NOW WHAT…

● Some of our students do not have families to advocate for them, BE THEIR ADVOCATES! 
● SIGN and SHARE this petition https://www.change.org/p/12812989 to make your voice heard
● SEND LETTERS or E-MAIL board members to demand the Pioneer Special School Program stay in tact: https://www.pps.net/Page/1788
● ATTEND and SPEAK UP at the School Board Meeting on MARCH 20th @ 5 pm at BESC, 501 N. Dixon Street, Portland, OR 97227, wear RED!



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