Tag Archives: Richneck Elementary

IEPs Are Not a License for Violent Behavior at School

by Kerry Dougherty

It may be time to rethink the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was signed into law in 1990 by then-President George H. W. Bush.

If the late president had known that some school officials would use a wrinkle in this law to keep psychopaths in the classroom I wonder if he would have signed it.

IDEA entitled students to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible. It meant kids with physical, mental and emotional disabilities could get individualized learning plans and ideally have an education tailored to their needs.

It’s a well-intended piece of legislation built on several earlier laws that also attempted to give those with disabilities the same opportunities as other children for a free public education. It appears that IDEA may have been expanded to mean that a child with an IEP has a license to be disruptive and even violent while teachers are powerless to get them out of class. If that’s the case, well, it’s time to narrow the law.

Or scrap it. Continue reading

Three Warnings? You’re Out of a Job.

by Kerry Dougherty

Unbelievable. If what Abby Zwerner’s lawyer said yesterday in her press conference is true, it wasn’t enough to sack only the superintendent of Newport News Public Schools over the near-fatal shooting of a first-grade teacher by an armed 6-year-old. A host of other indifferent school administrators need to join him in the unemployment ranks.

Oh, and they all need to buckle up for legal proceedings that could blow the roof off that dysfunctional school system.

Here, watch for yourself. I’ll wait:

Diane Toscano is not an ambulance-chasing lawyer. She’s a well-respected, experienced Virginia Beach attorney who once worked as a prosecutor. She just notified Newport News of her intention to sue on behalf of the wounded teacher, which may be part of the reason the school board decided yesterday to fire George Parker, the city’s school superintendent.

Toscano knows the law and seems confident that the chronic apathy that infected administrators at Richneck Elementary School will be enough to take this case out of the Workman’s Compensation meager coverage and open the schools to full liability for Zwerner’s injuries. Continue reading