As you know, Paterson Public Schools is currently facing a crisis of mammoth proportions in the area of special education. As reported, nearly 2,000 special education students are without requisite speech therapy time.
The special education department is sinking in tens of thousands of hours’ worth of missed legally required compensatory services for these students. As a parent of 2 students with IEPs, I know firsthand the dastardly impact it can have on a child who needs speech therapy and is not provided with it.
I work with parents all the time who are often faced with the tough decision of paying rent or paying for services the district is failing to provide. I know all about it and yet, this past Wednesday, the Board of Education felt it necessary to willingly reject my request to be appointed to the board despite the fact that I am one of the few outspoken, knowledgeable, concerned, active and sincere special education advocates who also happens to be the parent of 2 students with IEPs in the district, one of them being multiply disabled. Whilst I am grossly disappointed at the board’s decision I cannot forget the fact that I have much work to do.
Indeed, I have parents to gather. From the looks of it this critical moment isn’t going away anytime soon. As parents we must force the school board and the district office to do all it can to ensure all missed services are fulfilled in a timely fashion. I will continue to advocate in an unrelenting manner until every student who is owed services receives them.
Corey L. Teague
Former school board member and activist