Mother in dispute with district over emails
May 15, 2016 – The Citizens’ Voice – by Michael P. Buffer
A Wyoming Area School District teacher compared making accommodations for a special-needs student to appeasing Adolf Hitler and suggested it “would be nice if we spent this much extra time” on students who are “going to amount to something,” according to emails obtained by the student’s mother.
The mother, Holly Miller, has been in a dispute with the school district for more than 19 months over the education of her 12-year-old daughter, a seventh-grade student with learning disabilities.
Maura McInerney, a senior attorney for the Education Law Center, said teachers sometimes don’t understand legal mandates regarding students with disabilities and don’t know how to deal with students with special needs.
“Teachers and administrators may not have a full understanding of a disability and how it manifests itself,” McInerney said.
The Education Law Center is a legal advocacy organization based in Philadelphia and is dedicated to ensuring access by Pennsylvania’s children to a quality public education.
The best approach for school officials and teachers is “a collaborative relationship with the family” when determining the appropriate education for a student with special needs, McInerney said.
Serino said she has been personally involved in issues involving Miller’s daughter, adding she had “a very productive” meeting with Miller earlier this month.
“I am willing to work with her and do whatever I can, and will continue to do so,” Serino said. “She is a concerned mother — I am never going to take that away from her — who cares about her daughter. I understand she wants everything that’s best for her.”