GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal did not resign at the school board meeting Monday, April 16.
She was not fired nor suspended by the board, despite demands by parents throughout the district.
“Because I think she is not listening to us as parents,” said Mari Jo Thompson. “Our kids are treated as sub-humans."
Some parents say Grand Rapids Special Education Director Laura LaMore is the main problem. They say she is doing a poor job and should be replaced.
“With Laura, it is her way or the highway,” says Thompson.
Superintendent Weatherall Neal, who hired LaMore three years ago, disagrees and said no change is planned. Some now think Weatherall Neal needs to go, too.
“I think it’s gotten much, much worse with Laura,” Thompson said.
“Show us the proof and bring the evidence,” said district spokesman, John Helmholdt. “We have listened and responded every single time a concern has been raised over the last three years.”
Helmholdt suggests the M.E.A., Michigan’s largest teacher’s union, is behind the special-ed parents protest in Grand Rapids and elsewhere in the state.
“The M.E.A. is coordinating this in different districts throughout the state that just happen to be similar sized urban districts also implementing special education reform,” he says. “This is one of those situations where there is a political agenda underneath.”
“Not on our part,” Thompson said. “But we know there is a huge political agenda on their part.”
Special Education Director Laura LaMore was not present at the meeting Monday night.
Weatherall Neal and School Board President Wendy Falb did not address the issue.
“The Board of Education, in unanimous fashion, stand behind Superintendent Weatherall Neal,” Helmholdt said. “They recently approved her evaluation with “highly effective.”
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