HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island parents of learning disabled students say they are desperate to have their children receive the very best chance at a normal life.
However, recent claims charge their vulnerable students are being warehoused in the Hempstead schools to save money.
“How could this happen in our school district when we have a superintendent and everybody underneath her. Where are the checks and balances?” asked Caprice Hines, co-president of the Hempstead special education PTA.
Following a complaint, the New York state Department of Education investigated and just ruled that indeed “non-certified special ed teachers” have been in charge of classrooms in both Hempstead middle and high schools.
Attorney Ken Mollins represents some of the outraged parents.
“The Hempstead School District has repeatedly treated these kids as throw away kids. ‘Let’s just get them through the system and get them out,'” Mollins told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Certified special education teacher Mary Anne Leach was let go over the summer. She calls it fraud that her name still appears as the accredited Hempstead Middle School teacher. She said she was replaced by a “substitute un-certified special ed teacher,” who was not trained to teach children with special needs.
Experts say there can be regression with one non-certified teacher in a classroom of 15 students suffering from a variety of emotional and physical needs. Their family members call it unfair.
“The teachers are not really focused, they’re just babysitting, just having them draw,” said Jwanza Holloway, a Hempstead High School student and relative of a special needs student.
Some parents complained to CBS 2 that their children spent the last six months learning only to copy from the chalkboard to their notebooks.
The school district did respond, saying “…both temporary teachers have been replaced..with certified special education teachers..the district is providing the additional information as requested..”
The superintendent wasn’t available to speak to CBS 2, but the district denied it was a money making move.
One official called it an oversight that has been immediately rectified.
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