In his recent column, Brunswick School Superintendent Paul Perzanoski calls for a review of the continuing need for current “government mandates” on public schools and lists the requirement of  “special education” as the first example (“Superintendent’s Notebook: Schools need recess from government mandates”). Perzanoski further shows his disrespect for the importance of “special education” by lumping it with “bloodborne pathogens training” on his short list of burdensome and questionable “educational mandates.”

The Brunswick School Board should publicly and unequivocally repudiate this formal public statement expressing a begrudging and belittling attitude toward the fundamental human right of children with disabilities to a free and appropriate public education. Not only is this right of “special education” enshrined in our federal civil right laws (and thus cannot lawfully be changed based on the state-level, blue-ribbon committee blithely recommended by Perzanoski), but it should be an absolute moral imperative for every educational leader.

Perzanoski’s cavalier and disdainful view of “special education” calls into question his fitness to be the educational leader for a progressive and kind community like Brunswick. And, unless swiftly disavowed by the School Board, it raises serious doubts about the commitment of the Brunswick School Department to comply with its federal mandates to provide an appropriate education to its students with disabilities.

David G. Webbert

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