COLUMBUS, Ga. — A discussion on outsourcing special needs services in Muscogee County, gets heated during a school board meeting.
The meeting was packed to capacity when tensions began to fly. School Board Member Frank Myers says the push to outsource special needs services with Camelot has him a bit leary. He says he’s heard nothing but bad things, including child abuse claims.
“We’re about to farm out our most vulnerable children to save money on lawsuits and I won’t have any thing to do it,” says Frank Myers.
Muscogee County School Board Members, including Frank Myers had a meeting with members of the Camelot Education Services. That’s a for profit service out of Austin, Texas.
Myers says some of his concerns stem from a $25 million dollar lawsuit regarding Montravious Thomas. Thomas is a teenager who was reportedly body-slammed by Brayant Moseley, a contracted Behavior Specialist.Thomas eventually had to have his legs amputated last year.
Myers says he’s also read several reports that mention Camelot child abuse claims. We took those concerns to Camelot.
“I appreciate his representing his constituency and we want to get the information out as accurately as we possibly can and don’t take offense to the questions that he had,” says Tood Bock of Camelot Education Services.
During the meeting, Superintendent David Lewis got into a heated exchange with Myers.
“All this idea about pullin’ the plug…that just doesn’t fly. This is a big decision you’re asking us to make,” says Myers.
Lewis decided to put a delay on any formal action being taken. Myers didn’t appear to approve the move.
“Ya know..I don’t mean to be ugly..but just sit down and give us ten minutes.I think we can be through,” says Myers.
Lewis says another meeting is scheduled to take place next month with Camelot members. Myers says what he’s expecting to learn from Camelot on that day.
“I wanna know how much liability insurance is gonna be. If y’all can check that out during the meeting,” says Myers.
One parent, who’s served time in prison, says the Camelot service sounds all too familiar.
“Anything to me that’s privatized especially private where you feel like you have to have a maximum or a limit reminds me of prison,” says Waleisah Wilsion of Newlife Second Chance Outreach.
There were others, who were in support. They say, they do understand the concerns of those parents, who may be on the fence.
“I think most parents…our first concern is…we’re scared…what’s gonna happen to our children? We want to know that they’re safe,” says Lisa Jenkins, a mother to student with special needs.
Camelot Education now provides services in six states. Representatives say over the course of ten years, they’ve graduated about 5600 students.
Another meeting with Camelot representatives is scheduled to take place April 18 at Mildred Terry Library. It is expected to run from 6 until 8:30 p.m.