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Does bond address special needs students?

Published on April 19, 2017 7:11AM

I’m writing in regards to the Hermiston School District’s bond. If this bond passes, what are the plans in helping our students with disabilities? I have not noticed anything being said about those needs of the Hermiston School District.

According to the population study done by Portland State University that I read in the Hermiston’s Herald, it stated that the “Hermiston School District will continue to increase in student population by a total of 800 students by 2023 a short seven years from now.” With that said, I would think our students with disabilities would increase also.

Some of our disability students require unique care. Some are in wheelchairs; some wear diapers, have feeding tubes, and are on special diets. They require taking medications throughout the school day. Some require the need to be showered due to having a bowel accident that is beyond their control or from leaking feeding tubes. Our Special Ed teachers, last I seen, did not have the supports in place they needed to address all these situations when they occurred. Will there be any bond dollars, if passed, to help put some handicapped showers and changing tables in next to their rooms for easier transferring and for student privacy rather than them being taken down the hall to the locker room or wherever they can be changed? They could use some Hoyer lifts in each school to help our teachers lift our students easier, for the safety of our students and our teachers. Longer changing tables would accommodate the short and longer students along with the lighter and heavier students, rather than the short changing tables.

Will the bond, if passed, help our students and staff at the Kik Center, (AKA the Kik Building). Hermiston School District’s, Super Senior program for our students with disabilities; initially designed for our 18-21 year old students with disabilities to help them transition into the real world. Will they ever get a bus that will have a decent wheelchair lift that has air-conditioning and heating for our students and runs good? Last I seen they were still driving around the same yellow bus that my son rode in when he was in school, and when he needed a wheel chair we had to make special arrangements with the bus company just so he could continue his education.

As our student population increases so will our students with special needs. I understand that our people with disabilities have the most extensive care needs but by avoiding their unique abilities will put the health and wellbeing of our most needed people at risk. I believe ALL our students and teachers need to be kept safe. As the Hermiston School District states in its vision and mission statements: “Striving to be the premier public school district in Oregon and to serve the needs of all the children with rigorous program choices, high expectations, mutual respect and excellence in all endeavors.”

How will this bond be used to help the students and teachers in this population?

Beckie Bither



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