SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee to the School Committee) met last night at the Horton School. The evening unveiled a very disturbing realization when Co-Chairperson, Dannelle Littleton, asked the School Committee (“SC”) Representative about the progress of our newly formed Special Education Audit Subcommittee. Ms. Littleton said that there are three School Committee Members
(Stephanie Culhane, Andrea Ianuzzi and Janice Ruggieri), who came up with a resolution in August just before the November Election. This resolution was to put together a sub-committee that would investigate the Special Education Department. Finally some parents felt that their concerns were going to be heard with the Resolutions passage. Others felt that this was an election season game to get votes. The Resolution states that initial findings were to be discussed at the December work session. Guess what, we were told last night that the sub-committee has not even been formed yet! WHY????
I have talked over the past two years to my School Committee members about the grievances and harmful actions that I have been exposed to in both my situation and with other parents (ex: C.U.R.E.). I do think that some parents were under the assumption that the SC Members were taking steps to address these issues. Clearly, SC Member, Janice Ruggieri was notably uncomfortable answering Ms. Littleton’s questions. She confirmed that nothing has been accomplished since August because they have been busy with the Elections and stuff. SC Member Culhane is Chairing this subcommittee and I asked her about this promise of looking into the Special Education Department at other times before this Resolution. Several had believed she used this very issue on her last campaign. When I initially went to SC Member Culhane, she guided me to get support from another parent and work with them to accomplish what I needed. This was not what myself or others want when dealing with issues that are obviously common to many. Therefore, hearing the Resolution in August it gave many parents in Special Education new hope. However, I was not comfortable with the coincidental timing/campaign tactic or again the promise of meaning to find answers. Today, I know there has been no meetings since the Resolution and NONE are scheduled.
We are 4 months past the Resolution date of passage, and there is NOTHING to offer by way of Hope. Remember, if this went to Committee in August….it was strategically thought about well before that. Parents don’t want to be
placated anymore and want change.
Superintendent Lundsten has made some significant changes. Yet, Director of Special Education eludes answering questions and continues the cat-and-mouse game. She should know there are many of us now educating, researching and looking to help our children. Smoke screens were put up to benefit those we keep electing….we have our own Goals for our children, and we will continue to push forward. I recently learned something about myself, it is that I always expect people to make the right choice and I keep expecting it even when they have not done so historically. I can’t change them, but I can work with a group that can do our own investigating and find the solutions.
Ms. Elana Carello-Rabiner, who ran in this past School Committee election against Stephanie Culhane (Ward 2) commented and said “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Ms. Carello-Rabiner continues to show concern
even after losing the race. It is customary for many running for political seats to fall off the face of the earth and become ‘uninterested or active’ in keeping up with a community role. Clearly this is not the case with Ms. Carello-Rabiner, as she will continue to work on transparency and change for the better in our Schools.