Green-Fields Parents Decry Special Education Teacher Shift

Parents raised concerns over the effects on students as the board approved a three-teacher swap among classes to fill a vacancy.

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.”

John Hayden February 29, 2012 at 03:18 PM
wdresident, Actually, you are the one who "obviously has no idea what your talking about." Sitting WD BOE member Don Hick's wife is an art teacher in the district. I think a spouse would be considered family. And doesn't Ginny Brockway's sister also work for the district? I think you need to do your homework before commenting, although hiding behind an anonymous screen name does shield you somewhat from the embarrassment of being ignorant.
Tiredofdrama February 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
If you work at the school BEFORE a family is elected to the board.You can work there you can't get hired during their time on the BOE . So the art teacher was hired while Mr Hicks wassn't on the board for a year. Ginny was on after her sister was hired. Get your facts straight before calling somebody else ignorant.
John Hayden February 29, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Not for nothing, but the original comment was: NO FAMILY MEMBER to ANYONE on the school board can work for the school system while a family member is an active board member. wdresident claimed nobody can work for, not that they can't be hired by, the school while a family member is an ACTIVE board member, and I pointed out that there are 2 currently on the board who have family members who work for the district. I didn't say I had a problem with Mr. Hicks' wife or Mrs. Brockway's sister being employed by the district; I just corrected wdresident's ignorant comment. My facts are straight. Mr. Hicks' wife and Mrs. Brockway's sister are employed by the district (which means they work for the district) and they are both on the board (which means they are active board members).
Another voice March 01, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Just to clear things up. It is Mrs. Brockway's sister in law. Not sister.
John Hayden March 01, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Thanks for that clarification. Somebody told me sister the other night, but I may have misheard. Either way, they are still family, so the relevant points still apply.


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