Keep special schools open, parents urge

November 16, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Supporters of several Baltimore special education schools recommended for closing in the next two years made pleas last night to keep them open, saying that disadvantaged students would be further hurt by the proposed changes.

At a hearing before city education officials at Polytechnic Institute, the parents and grandparents of students, as well as teachers and other staff spoke on behalf of the schools that face closure as part of a sweeping reorganization plan announced last month.

Four special education centers - Central Career Center at Briscoe, Claremont School, Upton Home and Hospital Services School, and Waverly Career Center - are on the list for closure.

The majority of last night's speakers testified in support of Claremont, which serves about 85 students, ages 14 to 21, on the city's east side. Helen LeBon, whose 19-year-old son has Down syndrome and attends Claremont, begged school officials to reconsider.

"It would be very wrong to close this school because he loves this school," she said.

The closures are intended to maximize efficiency and improve the quality of education, school officials say.

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