COLUMBUS, Ga — Parents met Monday to voice concerns over special needs and alternative school options in Muscogee County.
They tell News 3 they want the school board to consider better use of our resources right here at home instead of being so willing to shell out millions for Camelot Education.
The for-profit education service would likely cost the Muscogee County School district around $6.4 million.
“I walk into the office and he was handcuffed to the chair, not like this, not like this, he was like an animal handcuffed to the chair.”
That’s what one guardian had to say during the meeting to discuss alternatives to outsourcing alternative education to Texas based Camelot Education services.
She says when she went to pick up her grandson from Woodall Elementary, she noticed a small child being restrained.
During the meeting, parents and guardians with special needs children came up with ways to improve specialized school services in Muscogee County.
“There’s a huge gap between parents and the district. We need to find a way to close that gap and I think bringing in an outside company, is only going to broaden that gap,” one parent stood up to say.
“They have multiple allegations of abuse. It’s for profit so accountability gets taken from the parent.”
Marianne Young and Waleisah Wilson are the organizers for Monday’s meeting. As News 3 reported, Young is the heated mother who was thrown out of a board meeting discussing Camelot earlier in April. Young says she was escorted out of the building for passing out opposition flyers.
Wilson says she invited school district members to attend Monday’s discussion, but they chose not to show.
“Teachers anybody that currently work with Muscogee County or those that work with the city. Just leary of wanting to say whether they support Camelot, or come in to actually speak as teachers what they see needs to be changed in the system,” says Wilson.
She explains she theory why district members made their decision to not attend Monday night.
“For fear of being retaliated against or losing their jobs,” says Wilson.
News 3 asked Wilson her overall goal for the meeting.
“[It] is for everybody to come together and say hey we do have the 90 days so regardless whether we support or not we need to come and try to get together and do viable alternative solutions,” she says.
She says there are local solutions available.
“There’s retired educators, there are councilors, there are therapists ready to offer their services.” says Wilson.
Parents agree, using local resources is the answer.
“How can you not live in my community, but want to come and provide a service when you don’t know our needs or you make an assumption of what are needs are for our children?” says Deborah Paris.