Originally created 09/17/00

Special needs students are punished

I read with interest the article concerning the special education student in Burke County who was expelled for pushing a teacher.

As a parent of a child with a similar diagnosis, I must say that it appears that school systems are all alike in dealing with the special needs and mentally challenged students.

Luckily for me, we had a medical diagnosis that stated that my child suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and that resulted in impulsive behavior. Without this diagnosis, I fear that my child would be suffering the same fate as the Burke County student...

I said all that to say this: I burned with contempt for the Burke County attorney who had the audacity to say their position was vindicated by the judge's order. Burke County is simply lucky, not vindicated and their attorney, like the rest of the county's school system, has no understanding of the inhumanity perpetrated on parents by their lack of compassion and understanding of handicapped children.

I have found that school system psychologists have no background or training that will allow them to recognize when a child has a learning or behavior problem that the child is unable to control. All they know how to do is label them as "bad."

It took me 10 years fighting with school officials to provide an education for my child, all the time assuming they knew something about meeting the needs of special education children. It wasn't until I took my child to a psychiatrist that I discovered the resulting lack of control that a child with ADHD must try to deal with and that he can't control without medication.

These children aren't bad. They are sick and must be treated with medicine, understanding and compassion. The parents must be encouraged and helped along the way instead of being berated, blamed and bullied by the very system that is supposed to educate their children.

David J. Bell, Beech Island


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