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Elementary School Under Fire for Labeling Special Needs Students With Stickers

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Update: On Nov. 30 the parents of students labelled with colored stickers at S.A.N.D. Elementary school announced they have filed a Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity (CHRO) complaint alleging that the labelling of their children was discrimination and caused emotional trauma, according to a Connecticut Parents Union press release. Since federal law prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin and other characteristics, Hartford parents are requesting a full expedited investigation. In addition, the Connecticut Parents Union has filed a Department of Children and Families (DCF) complaint against the Hartford Public School leadership, alleging “emotional maltreatment” of the students.

Hartford parents will be speaking before the State Board of Education on December 2 to demand an independent investigation into this discriminatory classroom practice.

At a teacher training in a public school in Hartford, Connecticut, special needs students were labelled with colored stickers.

On Nov. 9, special needs students at S.A.N.D. Elementary School had green stickers placed on their shirts, English language learners received yellow, those receiving both English language training and special education were identified with blue stickers and students in general education received red and orange stickers, The Hartford Courant reported. The training was supposed to show teachers how to walk through the classroom and divide their attention between students with differing needs.

Parents were not happy when they found out about the exercise.

I am a parent of a child with special needs,” Victor Cristofaro, a parent and also Vice President of the Hartford union that represents school supervisors and principals, told The Hartford Courant. “How long — let’s think about this — how long will students refer to each other by the color of the dot that was placed on them? How long will they have to deal with that?”

At a school board meeting on Tuesday, Hartford Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez told 22 News, “The intention was the right one, the way it played out was definitely wrong.

Dr. Schiavino-Narvaez also said the singling out of students was, “not in line with our values of equity and excellence in the Hartford Public Schools. It was an isolated incident and will not happen again.”

There is an ongoing investigation into the incident and it is not known at this point whether anyone involved will face discipline.

The Mighty contacted Hartford Public Schools and received the following statement.

“The matter has been reviewed and handled appropriately,” Superintendent Schiavino-Narvaez told The Mighty via email.

Get more on the story from the video below: 

Originally published: November 20, 2015
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