Charles County Public Schools’: “Fresh Start”
Despite strong statewide opposition from a growing number of State and nationally acclaimed special educators, behavioral therapists, and student rights groups, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is set to open its new “Fresh Start Academy”. Fresh Start is Charles’ newest and most ill advised, ever, alternative school placement. CCPS says its new Fresh Start placement is intended to manage serious student behaviors in its very youngest kids – CHILDREN NO MORE THAN 5 TO 7 YERAS OLD!
Before any child in CCPS’s Fresh Start program sets foot in the old school house which is to be used as the County’s alternative school placement, the program has already been widely condemned and illegal and in violation of Maryland and federal law. With little more than a single passing reference to the legal rights of public school students to a meaningful education within the neighborhood school, much less the powerful rights of students with serious disabilities to those same State and federal student guarantees, CCPS runs the risk of being found in the system wide violation of the State and federal laws long in place for the protection of public school students, especially the youngest, kids Fresh Start seeks to target.
By removing chronically “disruptive” kids from their classrooms and bussing them to another and very different school placement, no matter how well motivated, CCPS is depriving those kids and their families with the protections and rights the lawfully affords them. And the “voluntary (parental) placement” provision will not shield CCPS from the consequences of Fresh Start’s unwise, unpermitted and illegal placement/programming gambit.