Special education has grabbed its share of the spotlight in recent months following the revelation earlier this year of the usage of seclusion rooms within the Lexington Public Schools.
A little more than two weeks after allegations of mistreatment of young students with special needs surfaced, the district’s Special Education Parent Council began discussions about a parent survey. An online survey, which included input from the School Committee and district administration, went live earlier this week, and SEPAC members are hoping responses will come in by Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“This is a chance for parents to be heard,” said Jennifer Yaar, co-president of SEPAC. “If you’re happy, if you’re not happy, if you’re somewhere in between, we want you to fill it out.”
Yaar said the survey, which was sparked by a School Committee request, delves into the discussion about seclusion rooms, but also seeks to go beyond the one issue to find information about general special education services and delivery.
“The survey does touch upon some of the things that had been discussed,” said Yaar, “But we also looked at other issues that we heard from parents that we wanted to get more information about.”
Targeted survey respondents are any parent with a child or children on a 504 or IEP (individualized education program), or those who have had a child in a plan within the past few years.
“We really want to have as valid a result as possible, and to do that we need a whole range of people to respond,” said Yaar. “We want people to fill out the survey regardless of their feelings.”
Yaar said SEPAC hopes to have the results consolidated into a report by December, to be delivered to the School Committee, although it’s unclear how that information will be used.
“We’re trying to gauge parent attitudes toward the services their child is receiving currently,” said Yaar. “The goal of the survey is to guide some discussion around service delivery. “
Accessible through the SEPAC website, the survey takes about five minutes and all of the questions are optional, and can be answered anonymously. To find the survey, go here: http://bit.ly/sepacsurvey.