The Charleston County School District did the responsible thing by keeping Pattison’s Academy open for another year for children with multiple and severe disabilities.
The intensive care required by these students involves a team of highly trained and qualified personnel at Pattison’s who make it possible for them to attend school. It is difficult enough for parents of disabled children to navigate a complex maze of health care without adding another layer of challenge and frustration by expecting them to provide for and coordinate appropriate care for their children in a traditional school setting.
Some children are born with exceptional intelligence or sports ability. Being born with a lifetime of relentless challenges, others are less fortunate. The CCSD should provide an appropriate educational environment for all students.
If there are magnet schools for the intellectually gifted, then there should be a school such as Pattison’s for those who are severely challenged. It is not sufficient to send these students to a traditional school, armed with an Individualized Educational Plan, and have them languish in classroom settings where their unique physical, developmental, intellectual and emotional needs cannot be met.
CCSD has dug a deep hole through previous financial mismanagement, but it would reflect an incredible lack of compassion for them to expect these innocents to dig them out, regardless of what the cost benefits may be.
There are difficult decisions to be made regarding how to slim down the budget. The Charleston County School District made the right decision on Pattison’s Academy, and hopefully the district’s support will be ongoing.