SAN ANDREAS — Parents in the Calaveras Unified School District protested outside district headquarters Tuesday evening, upset about what they say is a string of violence at district schools.
“We have personally seen students attack faculty and a principal,” said parent Lauren Millmoore.
Parents say on August 9 the sheriff’s department was called to Valley Springs Elementary after a student threw a rock at a teacher’s aide. Another incident was also reported at the campus.
“These issues are being swept under the rug,” said parent Jaime Cole.
Parents told FOX40 the issue is with students who are classified as having behavioral disabilities and are integrated into special education classes as well as traditional classes.
Jennifer Chavez-Ochoa says her son has a learning disability and is in one of the special education classes with a student prone to violence.
“Where is my child’s learning environment?” Chavez-Ochoa told FOX40. “It’s not a good learning environment at all; there’s a lot of disruptions.”
Some parents said the children with the behavioral disabilities who are involved in the violent incidences are doing so under the understanding that they will not be punished, which further fuels their actions.
The Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Campbell said that under the law they are able to suspend or expel such students, however, he said they must follow strict protocol in order to do so and that even students with behavioral disabilities are under the same legal umbrella that covers students with special education needs.
Any violation of the protocol and laws could easily land the district in litigation, Campbell said.
He added district officials are in constant communication with school staff about each incident and how to handle it.
“We are torn between protecting the rights of students with disabilities, as well as the rights of all students, and trying to keep everybody safe,” Campbell told FOX40.
By 6 p.m. Tuesday evening about 100 parents teachers and students protested outside of the district office prior to the school board meeting.