• 72°

Orderly meetings allow all to be heard

A recent Lincoln County School Board meeting got a bit rowdy, but those who spoke about concerns with the county’s special education program deserve to be heard.

While we don’t agree with the way some in the group addressed the board, that doesn’t necessarily mean their concerns aren’t valid. We would advise them to request to be placed on the agenda if they desire to speak to the board again.

The school district has been cited in the past for problems with the special education program, and the Mississippi Department of Education gave them a detailed list of things that needed to be fixed.

According to MDE officials, those issues were fixed.

But those issues shouldn’t have existed in the first place. A 2016 report from MDE cited several problems, including:

• Lack of supervision, where a male and female student were observed to be in a bedroom behind a closed door in a “home” used to teach life skills as part of special ed instruction.

• A student found sleeping on a changing table.

• A blind and deaf child sitting on a chair chewing on a shoe.

• Limited interactions with non-disabled classmates in extracurricular activities.

• Incomplete student Individualized Education Programs.

Those are serious problems.

Those who addressed the school board about special education issues were upset that a principal in the district allegedly spoke about students in derogatory terms. The issue of who said what and if the recordings were obtained legally will be decided by the school board and law enforcement officials.

We anticipate the next school board meeting to be a heated one. It will take place Monday at the Bogue Chitto Attendance Center cafeteria due to space concerns at the usual meeting location. We hope the meeting can be conducted in an orderly fashion, so everyone’s concerns can be heard.