Parents raise concerns about accountability at council meeting for exceptional children

Local News

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A West Virginia special education advisory board met with residents in Huntington Thursday evening to discuss the educational needs of exceptional children.

The West Virginia Advisory Council for the Education of Exceptional Children is a non-partisan group that meets up with residents across the state about seven times a year, and their first meeting for this school was held in Huntington.

Some residents in the meeting voiced concerns about transparency and accountability.

The council’s meeting was held at the Cabell County Schools’ Central Office, and one of the first issues some attendees had was that hardly anybody in the county knew about the meeting.

“It’s 2019. They can put it on the internet, they can make phone calls,” said Allison Davis, Huntington parent.

Once things settled down the council of 13 people, made up of parents, teachers, county administrators and people with disabilities, started taking questions from the public.

“The goal of every meeting is to hear from as many people as we can about the good, the bad, and the ugly about what is happening in special education in our schools and districts,” said Susan White, Ex. Dir. West Virginia Advisory Council for the Education of Exceptional Children.

Some of the parents in the meeting said that educators are not doing a good enough of a job of diagnosing children with reading disorders like dyslexia or meeting the educational needs of children with disabilities in programs like IEP.

“The kids are not getting services, and they (educators) are failing the kids”.

Davis who attended the meeting with her daughter said educators need to be held accountable, starting with stiff fines.

“Schools feel it is cheaper to not follow the law, so we need to make it not cheap to follow the law”.

White said the council takes all concerns and issues raised during meetings seriously, and at the end year after all the meetings across the state have been held they present their recommendations to the state.

“We identify three to five major goals and recommend it to the state board of education”.

Davis and others said all they can do is voice their concerns and hope some change is made in the future for the better of their children

The council will have another meeting in Huntington Friday morning at 8 am to noon at the Cabell County Schools’ Central Office, and after that, they are heading off to Elkins for a meeting in October.

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