Cherry Hill's Shame


In Defense of Special Needs Children

The recent discovery that a padded closet was being used for children with Autism in the Cherry Hill School system was absolutely shocking and broke all of our hearts. It is our opinion that such an atrocity was the result of the continuing degradation of Special Education by our School Administration under Superintendent David Campbell, and his Director of Special Education, Isreala Franklin.

Before the 2007 School Board election, the Campbell Administration stated there would be no cuts to special education, yet within a month more than two dozen special education aides lost their jobs. And that was just the beginning. In the months that followed, severe understaffing has lead to numerous schools lacking trained therapists, and dozens of children being denied their much needed therapies.

The NJ Department of Education has just ruled thatCampbell Administrationviolated state special education law, in regards to how it deals with home instruction for the most needy children. This ground breaking decision is not only a vindication for the many families who have suffered from lack of resources, but it is a direct call for reform.

How many times are Special Needs children going to be treated like second class citizens? How many more nightmares are yet to be uncovered and revealed? For far too long Special Needs children in Cherry Hill have been bled by budget cuts, loss of staff and lack of therapists. Our children cannot stand further loss.

It is for all these reasons, and the many other wrongs committed against families with special needs children, that we, the undersigned, call for the removal of Special Education Director Franklin and for the creation of a new oversight committee by the Board of Education, so that the grievous offenses committed against the most vulnerable of our children may finally be dealt with and corrected.

Special Education Alliance SEA@hnva.net www.cherryhillsea.com

View the news coverage of the horrific padded closet:http://www.nbc10.com/education/14709002/detail.html

And here: http://cbs3.com/camden/Russell.Knight.Elementary.2.597024.html

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