GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents and educators upset with the special education program at Grand Rapids Public Schools put their concerns to the district’s Board of Education Monday.
About a dozen parents, educators and community members lined Franklin Street in front of the GRPS offices Monday afternoon, demanding the removal of Executive Director of Special Education Laura LaMore and Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal.
In February, LaMore’s opponents held a press conference saying the special education program under her leadership was neglecting students’ needs. Among the problems, they said, are administrators who are unresponsive to reports of disruptive students and some students being improperly placed. The same day, Neal held a press conference to state her support for LaMore and calling the complaints against her a “smear campaign.” She also released a statement outlining steps the district has taken to improve special education.
During the Monday school board meeting, opponents again laid out their list of concerns.
“I’m wondering why we’re not being heard,” parent Natalie Desmarais said. “I’m hoping that it’s just a small minority of leaders who are not listening to the mass of the people. I hope that that’s not what it is. I hope that you listen to the people and go with what the people want.”
In a statement released before the meeting, Board of Education members said they “stand united in our support of Superintendent Weatherall Neal and her most recent evaluation where she received a ‘highly effective’ rating.”