Wicomico BOE Votes to Send Letter of Support to Senate on SB926 For Disabled Children
On March 23, 2023, the Wicomico County Board of Education voted to send a letter of support for Senate Bill 926 to the Senators of the Maryland General Assembly. After At-Large board member Kristin Hazel made a motion before the board, four board members voted in support of the special education bill to help disabled children and their families: Kristin Hazel (At-Large), Susan Beauchamp (District 3), David Plotts (District 4) and John Palmer (District 5).
Those who opposed the bill were Bonnie Ennis (At-Large), Vice Chair Allen Brown (District 1) and board Chair Gene Malone (District 2).
What is SB926 and why is it such a big deal?
SB926 is a statewide bill that was introduced to put protections in place for special needs children and their families. Currently, the burden of proof falls on the parent to prove that their child is not receiving the necessary special education supports. The school system will commonly look for ways to obstruct students with disabilities from receiving a Free and Appropriate Education by making excuses, withholding needed services, downplaying a disability, or denying that a disability exists despite any diagnosis by specialized physicians. This systematic scheme has been an abusive burden for many years, costing families thousands of dollars in legal fees.
If the bill passes, it would establish a Maryland law of due process rights for the parents and their disabled child by instead placing the burden of proof onto the school system. As a result, the school must prove they are meeting the special educational needs of the disabled child under the federal law of FAPE and IDEA regardless if the public school system agrees with a child's medical diagnosis or not.
Why would Bonnie Ennis and incumbents Allen Brown and Gene Malone oppose the bill?
To protect the house instead of the people. The MSEA/WCEA teachers' unions oppose SB926 as stated here. Malone has historically aligned with the union, along with Ennis and Brown, who are both retired lifelong members of the teachers' union.
Their political stunt to stall and delay with the excuse that they "need to hear the position of the Special Ed Department" is completely invalid and irrelevant. The abuses and actions of this department is why this bill even came about, and they have no say.
Who votes against special education? For elected officials to do this to disabled children and their families is unfathomable. In the end, Hazel, Beauchamp, Plotts, and Palmer are four superheros that voted to save the day for our special needs children and their families.
Fellows & Editors
March 24, 2023 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org