The Rapidian

Protesters demand removal of GRPS special education director

Protesters attended the GRPS Board of Education meeting demanding the removal of Laura LaMore
GRPS School superintendent Neal listening during open comments

GRPS School superintendent Neal listening during open comments /John Rothwell

GRPS Special Eduction Director Laura LaMore listens to comments being made at the March 19 2018 school board meeting

GRPS Special Eduction Director Laura LaMore listens to comments being made at the March 19 2018 school board meeting /John Rothwell

Protesters gather outside GRPS district offices before the March 19 school board meeting

Protesters gather outside GRPS district offices before the March 19 school board meeting /John Rothwell

A small group of protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Public School's district office on Monday, March 19, 2018 before the scheduled school board meeting demanding that GRPS remove special education director Laura LaMore.

The protest comes almost a month after several groups released a nine-page letter February 22 to the school board requesting the board remove LaMore.

Their primary issues are dissatisfaction with the level of education and treatment of special education students in the Grand Rapids Public School District. In the letter, protestors take issue with the decline in special education in the district under the leadership of special education director Laura LaMore.

Protesters moved inside for the 6:30 p.m. meeting where LaMore and members of Mary Free Bed gave a slideshow presentation describing the working relationship that GRPS has with Mary Free Bed. 

Some attendees used the open comment section of the meeting to again voice their opposition and disapproval of LaMore.

Lily Schulting, founder and president of Disability A-TEAM of West Michigan, reiterated that 847 special education teachers and staff have signed the Michigan Education Association's petition for the removal of LaMore. Schulting said that there needs to be an answer from the Board by March 23 at 5:00 p.m. or they will move forward with their plan of action.

Parent Laura Fagairo implored the board members to think about everything that has been presented to them.

"You know this is a problem," Fagairo said. "It's obvious with the groups of parents coming here week after week."

Fagairo also added that they are not trying to build a new system. Instead, she said all they are asking for is "fundamental education rights for our kids."

During the open comment portion of the meeting, board members did not respond directly to the comments. The district said in response to a phone call for comment that it would release a response this afternoon. As of the time of publication of the article, the response was not available.

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