GPS Targets the Most Vulnerable Students: Get Out of our Way, Kid!

Gilbert Public Schools targets vulnerable kids: Special Education students who are turning out to be inconvenient because they need special resources. Never mind that GPS receives additional funds to provide these students with access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. Never mind that it’s the law of the land. Since when has GPS cared about things like laws?

Meet Ryken. He is a vivacious, curious, sweet kindergartner. He loves his friends, baseball, his family, playing board games, and swimming. Ryken happens to also have Down syndrome. Next year Ryken wants to go to first grade with his friends, at his school, Ashland Ranch Elementary. Gilbert Public Schools wants to bus Ryken away from his friends and place him at a different school. To save money, a lot of which is being spent on feeding the Top Dogs in the GPS administration and on the Governing Board. Thousand dollar lunches for Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her pals, a bus to who-knows-where for the Kindergarten child they consider *inconvenient.* That’s the way it is in GPS these days.

It’s not fair:

** A different school means that Ryken will be spending time on the bus instead of learning.
** A different school means that Ryken will not go to school with the kids in his neighborhood.
** A different school means that Ryken will not go to school with his sister.
** ALL of this means that Ryken is not being given the same choices and opportunities as his classmates, simply because he learns differently.

And it’s not lawful. Local media have picked up the story, and they don’t mince words: 

A Gilbert family believes their special needs child is being forced to leave his school so the district can save money. This past December, his parents said they were notified Ryken would be switching schools in 2016. Ryken’s parents said they were never given an explanation for why.

The family believes Ryken would be better off in a school that integrates special needs students into classrooms. They said Ryken’s new school would segregate the special needs students into their own classrooms.

The media asked GPS for their comments.  GPS’s response: Crickets.

The Gilbert School District did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Apparently, GPS thinks it’s less expensive to warehouse and segregate SpEd students than allow Ryken to stay in the same school as his friends and neighbors, and most of all, his sister. GPS was famous throughout the valley a few years ago for its fabulous SpEd program. It was so good, families moved to Gilbert, Arizona so their kids would be able to attend GPS schools. GPS attracted many excellent teachers who happened to have children with special needs; that was a win-win for all.

No longer: now GPS seems to do its level-best to force SpEd families to take their kids elsewhere. GPS has lost some exceptional teachers as a result of this ridiculous stance, but the Top Dogs don’t care. “Get lost!” is their mantra and message to SpEd parents and their kids. “Go away!” If GPS doesn’t drive families away with that, they take out frustrations on the most vulnerable students in the district. It’s sickening.

Here’s the hypocritical message that Ashland Ranch Elementary School has on its website:

Our Mission:  Every Kid, Every Day
Ashland Ranch Elementary provides an environment of acceptance and high standards for students and staff.
Ashland Ranch is dedicated to building a welcoming, collaborative atmosphere that is student-focused and community-oriented. We strive to be current, both academically and technologically, in pursuit of creating lifelong learners.

Hey, GPS, it’s more than a law or two that you’re dismissing as inconvenient. It’s the right of these students to receive an education, including specialized instruction and related services, that prepares these children for further education, employment, and independent living.

It’s obvious to all that GPS doesn’t like following the law or doing what is right. GPS prefers to make life miserable for the parents of disabled students, many of whom are not really *disabled,* but *differently abled.* GPS loves to cry about how hard it is to craft a budget with the ONE THIRD OF A BILLION DOLLARS that the district spends each year, and we hear all kinds of excuses about how the district just doesn’t have the money to do everything they would like to do.

Westie’s calling BS, because GPS has no choice about providing Special Education services. It’s the law. The government gives GPS plenty of money to follow the law. It’s more of the same old stuff with these GPS Top Dogs, isn’t it? Special trips to resort locations for Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her Top Dogs, at taxpayer expense, while the most vulnerable students are sacrificed on the altar of balancing the GPS budget … AFTER the thousand dollar lunches and all-expense paid boondoggles for the favored few.

GPS has sunk to a new low, which if you follow Westie’s posts, you know is the deepest circle of HellMoving SpEd students is something GPS does on a whim, it seems. A whim that deprives those SpEd students of the Free and Appropriate Public Education that is their right.

We’ve posted many times about how Gilbert Public Schools has targeted a different group of kids, hoping that they’ll just give up and leave the district. These are the students whose junior high schools are on the chopping block to give the incredibly fortunate students at Gilbert Classical Academy a new campus … at the expense of a student body that has the largest component of minority students and those who qualify for free or reduced lunches. Now we learn that Special Education students are getting the same treatment.

Westie has another petition for you to sign: RYKEN BELONGSJoin Ryken’s family and many more at the GPS Governing Board meeting on April 26, 2016 at 7PM. Make the world a better place … and force GPS to recognize that this community does not take advantage of the most vulnerable kids in the school district. It’s a public school district, and we are the PUBLIC!


Ryken Belongs in Our Community!

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