Parents push back against changes to Henry County special needs program


A Hail Mary effort to block the transfer of about 100 special needs students to new schools falls flat in Henry County. Angry parents have clashed with the school board over the changes for weeks, and it happened again at the latest school board meeting.

Parents at that meeting gave administrators an earful. "Our children don't have time for you to figure this out because by the time your figure it out they've lost time," said Kimberly Grindle as she addressed the board. She was one of four parents who spoke out against the pending changes affecting dozens of special needs students in Henry County. "A bunch of these parents have banded together and formed a group and we're till here to talk about it," Kayla Otis, another parent, explained to the board.

This fall, more than 100 students will be transferred to new schools, but the district has only notified a portion of those impacted. Henry County Communications Director JD Hardin says the board doesn't make those decisions. "That process will be played out in an IEP meeting where they can express their concerns."

While parents gave impassioned pleas to save their children, CBS46 caught board members distracted on the floor, scrolling through Facebook, reiterating parents fears that their concerns are being minimized.

"There's a lack of trust that's there already. So if you're not gonna provide why rules are being made, well come up with them. They may not be the right ones but that's why transparency is so important," says David Armstrong-Reiner, who also addressed the board.

CBS46 asked Henry County Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis if she would speak, as well as board members, but they all declined.

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