New Hanover County Schools holds round table on special education

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–Families of students with disabilities joined New Hanover County Schools on Thursday night to discuss the challenges and issues they’re facing this school year.

Parents of those children had the opportunity to voice their opinions during the round table. They say this meeting was necessary because so far they have been left with more questions than answers.

“We just didn’t feel like there was stuff that really was pertaining to our families,”says New Hanover County parent Grelynn Bradley. “It was just little blurps, but nothing that was really extensive enough. So, we just had big question marks all the time.”

The communication or lack there of between the families and school district was a main topic of discussion. A handful of families said without the appropriate communication not only are they being left in the dark, but their children are as well.

“Our children really strive and thrive off of the structure and consistency,”says Erin Barbee a New Hanover County parent. “So, when we don’t really have that from a communications standpoint, it’s hard to kind of pass that along to our kids.”

The information collected from Thursday nights round table will be used to enhance the communications with the IEP families both on the school and district levels. The district agreed that proper communication is key on both sides and especially with it comes to students in special education.

“We hope that our families find the communication to be much more meaningful and much more impactful in helping make further decisions,” NHCS Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Julie Varnam. “We need that because it’s a joint decision making effort between families and the school, especially when we’re talking about students with special needs.”

The parents in attendance at the event say while tonight was a step in the right direction, they would have like to seen these issues address in more detail months ago.

“I think having a forum like tonight is a good starting point,”says Barbee. “I think it would have been really helpful to have done it three months ago in August.”

New Hanover County School officials say they hope to have another round table on this topic in the coming months.

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