Angry parents descended on West Deptford’s school board meeting Monday night, raising concerns about a move to shift three classrooms’ worth of special education teachers at .
At the crux of their argument against the move is its effects on their children, who they said would have their lives disrupted by such a drastic change across multiple rooms.
“I feel that it’s a total disservice to not one class, but now you’re looking to interrupt three classes,” said Nicole Reed. “I don’t know whether I can convey enough how utterly disappointed I am.”
The complaints were the fallout from the resignation of Erica Vedder, whose resignation—which some of the parents claimed was forced—was accepted by the board two weeks ago.
Vedder’s resignation resulted in a recommendation from Sperintendent Kevin Kitchenman, child study team supervisor Chery Fairchild and Green-Fields principal Jon Cohen to shift teachers already at the school to make up for Vedder’s loss.
An afternoon part-time kindergarten teacher with special education certification will be moved to a full-time special education position, while a morning part-time kindergarten teacher will be shifted to full-time to cover the two kindergarten sessions.
Another special education teacher will be shifted to a different class to complete the switch.
Kitchenman said the other option would’ve been to hire someone new, but the process of advertising for the position, interviewing and bringing someone to be approved by the school board would’ve meant waiting until at least mid-March.
“We would have a class of students with a substitute for a period of time that, to us, would be unacceptable,” he said.
Jennifer Mayer flat-out accused the administration of being lazy and taking the easy way out.
“Why do three classrooms have to be disturbed to replace one teacher?” she said.
Kitchenman said the decision came after a thorough process, and while he admitted it would upset students and parents, Kitchenman said they’re working to make the transition as easy as possible, including holding a parent meeting with all those involved at some point either this week or next.
“We believe this is the best course to follow for all students involved,” he said. “Within the next couple of weeks, the students will be happy, the parents will be happy, and we’ll move forward.”