Moving Special Programs Out Of Mt. Greenwood?

got a letter from a parent who is upset to find out that the Board may be planning to move existing TMH programs out of Mt. Greenwood Elementary (111th & Kedzie). Read below for the letter, and post your comments afterward.

Dear Mr. Russo:

Parents were informed during Spring Break that CPS is

planning on moving both the primary and intermediate TMH classrooms out

of Mt. Greenwood Elementary. It is such an injustice to move these children with special needs.

Here is a letter I wrote to our Alderman. Parents are asking what we can do to get the Board reconsider. Any suggestions?

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I just received word from a proud and concerned parent of a child with special needs that the Chicago Board of Education is planning on moving the primary and secondary Trainably Mentally Handicapped (“TMH”) programs out of Mt. Greenwood Elementary School.

That is an absolute injustice to the families in this community who

have built such a successful program in their own neighborhood – a

program in which their children are thriving both in school and in our

neighborhood and community. The location of the Mt. Greenwood TMH programs is a key and essential component that supports the success of the programs. To be clear, most of the students in the

Mt. Greenwood TMH program attend school close to their homes, giving them the opportunity to reinforce the relationships they make at school with children after school while engaging in the kind of typical neighborhood activities and social interactions that can only be made near their homes. Having children with special needsattend a neighborhood school also benefits typically-functioning

students by providing for them the opportunity to interact with

students of varying capabilities -- thereby expanding the potential for

tolerance, acceptance, friendship and community. To

separate these children with special needs from their

typically-functioning neighborhood peers undermines the life-skills and

community-building lessons these children need to thrive. What sort of message do we

send when programs for children with special needs can be displaced if there is overcrowding in our neighborhood school? It

teaches our children that children with special needs will be

marginalized – literally put outside the margin of their own

neighborhoods – and that they are not an integral part of our community.

I request that you ask Mr. Huberman to reconsider the uprooting of the TMH programs at Mt. Greenwood Elementary. Mt. Greenwood, Cassell, Sutherland, Kellogg, and Clissold have property to accommodate the building of mobile classrooms. Such

construction could solve some of the overcrowding problem in our

neighborhood schools and keep our children with special needs close to

home where they can be fully-supported in their neighborhood. Let us not sacrifice our most vulnerable children by discriminating against children with special needs. The IDEA has its roots in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960’s. In

this instance, our neighborhood children’s civil rights are being

violated in an insensitive, bureaucratic and uncaring way, much in the

same way public institutions violated people’s civil rights based on

race. Our children have a right to attend our neighborhood schools and we advocate to keep them here. They

have the right to a free and appropriate education and it is most

appropriate that these children remain in Mt. Greenwood Elementary --

the school that provides them with a sense of community, protection,

safety and security.

Please call me with any questions or comments at .

Thanks so much.

Mary Hughes

Chairperson

Beverly Area Parents for Special Education

Filed under: Parents and Parenting

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