Parents demand apology from school board member for comment on special-education students

Trustee Jonah Rizzo-Bleichman came under fire from the Eastchester SEPTA for his comments made a meeting on April 5.

News 12 Staff

Apr 20, 2022, 4:26 PM

Updated 770 days ago

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Parents in Eastchester are demanding an apology from a school board member for comments made earlier this month about special-education students and their families.
Trustee Jonah Rizzo-Bleichman came under fire from the Eastchester SEPTA for his comments made a meeting on April 5:
• "Are we kind of a magnet for this – are we attracting families that are coming here with students that are just very costly and take up a lot of resources?"
• "More generally, this issue of how much resources are we dedicating to special ed versus general ed…"
• "Are we still so far out of whack in how we are allocating resources between special ed and general ed?"
• "Enhancing the special ed - every time you look around that's where kind of the resources are going."
The letter goes on to say, "We call upon you to apologize to our families of students with learning differences for your comments that referred to students with learning differences as 'costly' and appeared to advocate for their exclusion from access to, or the benefits of, activities and programs in our schools, and we ask that you issue your apology at the next regular Board of Education meeting."
He was also invited to meet with families to start building a trusting work relationship.
Rizzo-Bleichman told News 12, "I have apologized for that comment, and I'll apologize again tonight. The other comments though, I think they're important things to talk about."
To view the entire letter, click here.


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