State report critical of VB Schools’ special needs programs


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A new report from Richmond says Virginia Beach City Public Schools needs to make changes when it comes to special needs students.

The 31-page report from the Virginia Department of Education looked at more than 225 special ed cases and found non-compliance in just one area. It’s called transition services, providing necessary support for special ed students graduating high school.

But investigators cited other cultural areas they called disturbing, especially bullying. That’s what has happened to Stephanie Johnson’s son.

“(Nothing) can erase these events from my child’s head. These events should have never happened and they could have been prevented.”

Cathy Heinz advocates for her son Dallas at Tallwood High School. She was glad to see the report call out Virginia Beach Schools for the way parents are treated.

“That’s so much of what we deal with, where we’re minimized, and dismissed, and told we just want more than what we deserve.”

Parents like Tom Jillson, whose son is on the autism spectrum, are cautiously optimistic.

“It’s important for the VDOE to take a look and identify certain inadequacies within the school system.”

In a statement, VBCPS says it’s notable there was only one area of noncompliance, even though investigators found several other areas of concern.

The administration says it’s already addressing the deficiency with transition services, and it will determine an action plan moving forward to ensure all students receive an excellent education.

VBCPS says the report found deficiencies in less than one percent of the compliance points that were reviewed.

Parents advocate Cheryl Poe and her clients say that math is faulty, and the problems are more widespread than that.

The families and Virginia Beach Schools do agree on one point — the report will help serve as a template for educators and parents alike moving forward.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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