Some parents of special needs students in the Wichita Falls Independent School District are upset that their kids are not receiving the same opportunities as other kids.
Some of the parents said this issue has been 10-weeks in the making, but the school district officials said they have programs in place and are working to improve them.
During Monday’s school board meeting, a parent came forward during public comment to talk about why classes offered at the Career Education Center but are not available to special education students.
Parent Carissa Davis doesn’t feel her child is being given the same opportunities as other children. Davis and parent Penni Lemmon said they want their kids to learn traits to help them in the future.
“I think it’s really important that we get our kids out in the community more. We get them into jobs into the Wichita Falls district. They need to be working. They want to be contributing members to society,” Davis said.
“We want them to be able to transition directly into a job and not being doing the same thing that they did in high school over and over again,” Lemmon said.
Wichita Falls ISD superintendent Michael Kuhrt says they currently have programs in place that do just that.
“Two specific programs that we have for those students is horticulture. That they learn basic plants and how to plant them and how to grow vegetables and things like that.” Kuhrt said.
The other class is called daily living which teaches them how to wash clothes, cook for themselves and be safe doing it. Superintendent Kuhrt also says they are currently working on making the programs better.
“We have a specialist who’s working on further developing our program and adding more skills besides just horticulture and daily living skills. And maybe helping students to develop specific skills,” Kuhrt said.
This debate continues, as parents say the programs need to be better, and the school district says they are doing just that.
Superintendent Kuhrt said that parents meet with the teachers and diagnosticians every year to come up with individual education plans for the school year. Currently, all districts in the state are required to serve special needs students ages three through 21.
If you have a child with special needs, there’s a local non-profit that is there to help.
The Arc of Wichita County serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
From daycare for children to after-school activities to employment opportunities, the organization strives to connect families to all the different resources available.
The non-profit is always looking for volunteers too.