VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Some families with children who have disabilities are starting to feel left out.
“That’s sad that they aren’t seen as priorities. Does it need to be a little bit worse to be seen first?” Nicole Wilson asks.
Her 12-year-old son William is in the seventh grade at Independence Middle School.
“He is so far behind now. He’s going to have to repeat a grade,” says Wilson.
William is one of about 8,000 students in the Virginia Beach school system in the individual educational program, also known as an IEP.
He receives some special educational support, but not enough to go back into the classroom.
“It’s like they are not severe enough, but they have needs,” she adds.
Wilson says William is currently failing his classes because he’s not getting the one-on-one support he would get if he were in the school building.
“[If] William speaks out of turn once, twice or three times, then he is removed, and they work with him individually. That can’t be done here," said Wilson.
Now, the only students allowed in the school building are a specific group.
“Those were our high-need students who require intensive support and also have IEPs,” said Dr. Kipp Rogers.
Rogers is the Chief Academic Officer with Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
He says families who feel like they are struggling should start by reaching out to their students’ case worker or mangaer and special education coordinators.
“My husband and I are very supportive, and we have tried everything. They only thing we didn’t try is doing the work ourselves,” Wilson adds.
Rogers also wants families to know that the school district has a Parent Support and Information Center on Laskin Road.
“There is always a recourse for families. We never want any families to feel as if they aren’t being supported,” Rogers adds.
Virginia Beach school leaders are following health metrics. They are currently in the red as coronavirus cases continue to increase in the region.
“I mean, we can’t live in fear,” Wilson adds.
Her only fear is her child’s future.
“He is not going to be successful in life,” she said.