Letter: Special needs students need more than principal’s support

With constant cuts to funding it must be very difficult for principals to appease both parents and staff.

To the editor:

Referring to the letter to the editor, “Principals Support Keeping Special Needs Students in the Classroom”, June 26 Capital News.

Donna Moore addresses a very sensitive and complicated matter regarding classroom dynamics and composition. Speak to any teacher in B.C. and one will note quite quickly that teachers are definitely upset about classroom composition, given the alarming number of special needs in one classroom with little to no support for those students.

For years teachers have been fighting for more support for students in the classroom to no avail. With little to no support for students with special needs, especially for the students that have been recognized as having intense behaviour issues, there is bound to be constant disruptions and interruptions.

But, this is not the students’ fault. Those disruptions and interruptions could be manageable and addressed if there was the proper amount of support in the classroom. By proper amount I mean that every designated special needs student has a document that states what will help the student have success in the classroom.

If a student is supposed to have one-on-one to help with staying on task, then that is what should be in place. Some students need a little walk every 15 minutes to help with calmness. Disruptions and interruptions, and often a feeling of not being safe, occur when those students are not getting their documented needs met.

For sure these problems could be avoided if there was more government funding for schools.

In her letter, Donna makes it appear as though students with special needs are the reason why classrooms have disruptions, are perhaps dysfunctional and hard to manage. A better question for parents to ask a principal, if they have concerns about the dynamics and composition of their child’s classroom for the next year, would be this: “How much student support will be in that classroom and is it your opinion, as principal, that that will be enough to make sure that all of the students in the classroom are feeling safe and getting their needs met?”

From what I understand, no principal has a say as to who goes into which class. It is the role of principal as administrator to juggle the dollars allotted by the school board which comes to the district from the government.

With constant cuts to funding it must be very difficult for principals to appease both parents and staff. Unfortunately, it is the students, all of the students, that feel the effects the worst.

Terrie Anderson, West Kelowna


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