To the editor:
It is important to give honor where honor is due. Having observed the dedication of Cordley elementary staff members Lois Orth-Lopes and Sebastian Alfie work with our children with autism, there is no doubt they did everything they possibly could to prepare Ali Gotte's transition to South Junior High. Ali is a delightful child with significant potential to succeed, when placed in a nurturing learning environment. This is what she experienced at Cordley.
Letters in Oct. 24 J-W regarding Lawrence Alternative High School provides the same rationale for students with autism. Avoiding high school dropout (avoiding institutional settings or improper out-of-home placement), caring supportive teachers, proper setting, minimizing "distractions' that deter learning, and price tag consequence down the road for negligence during the learning years are virtually the same for these special children.
It is disturbing to learn of the events that occurred for Ali at South Junior High, since that is where our child with autism will likely go in the not-too-distant future. It is unconscionable that a special ed teacher could refuse to work with a certain child, unless all significant teacher supports were exhausted first.
Dedicated teachers are inspired and retained when they have the kind of support they need. Newly revised and updated buildings in the district cannot provide what only human encouragement and understanding can do. Could it be that teachers are also "falling through the cracks" in the Lawrence school district?