PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dozens of parents held a rally before meeting with district leaders about a proposal that would move students with special needs out of their school and into two new ones.
“There is no future for him without it,” said parent Stephanie Fredericks.
Fredericks’ son, who has Asperger's syndrome, is a student at Pioneer School, a school that serves students with special needs. Fredericks says Pioneer School and its staff have been instrumental in her son’s growth.
“They are angels for us,” she said. "If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what would happen to him.”
An emotional Fredericks and many other parents packed the Pioneer School cafeteria Wednesday night. They were eager to plead their case to district leaders who have decided to move Pioneer students to either Applegate School or Rice School. This would allow ACCESS, a program for gifted students, to move into the Pioneer building.
"Unfortunately, the district doesn’t have enough buildings to accommodate all the students who need programs and services next fall,” said PPS spokesman Dave Northfield. “There isn’t a solution that doesn’t involve moving some students next fall.”
District administrators promise that Pioneer’s students will get the services they need at the two new schools, but it is not sitting well with Pioneer supporters.
“I think it’s sad,” said substitute teacher James Anderson. “It’s been working fine for years."
It has been working better than fine for Fredericks’ son and so many others. She is hoping district leaders realize that and have a change of heart.
“Fingers crossed,” said Fredericks.