Here is what Fairfield residents have said in the past….
We represent concerned citizens, relatives, friends and parents of special needs children in the New Fairfield Public School District. Since our children have been attending New Fairfield Schools, there has been a systemic lack of effective educational programming, appropriate behavior management techniques, and a lack of current knowledge of contemporary teaching methodologies for children with special needs. Special needs children in New Fairfield with behavioral health issues are contained in isolation, restrained by staff and frequently traumatized in an environment where they should feel safe, by personnel they should be able to trust and rely upon. New Fairfield faculty and staff do not receive current and consistent training to enable them to properly educate our children according to lawful Free and Appropriate Public Education requirements, and according to the laws of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This broken and callous system is causing widespread emotional and psychological damage to the students, their families and the New Fairfield community.
The New Fairfield Schools Superintendent has constructed a Special Education Department run by an administration that is unprofessional, unresponsive and downright hostile to the needs of our children and our families. They are rude and intransigent in Planning and Placement meetings, do not return calls or e-mails, and marginalize our children as being “problems” within the larger district that must be “dealt with”. We, as parents, are made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, and as if our children are unwanted and a financial drain on this community. In keeping with this, the administration has also failed to provide any enrichment or after-school activities for special needs children in this town. While typical children are attending clubs, athletic and social events each day that enhance their education and enrich their lives, our children are surreptitiously bused back to their homes and hidden from public view.
While there are clearly some children who will always require outplacement to meet their academic goals, this school district leaves many special needs parents with no alternative but to hire legal representation and pursue private outplacement as a last resort. These subsequent private outplacements are not the least restrictive environments for our children, nor are they a solution to the problems that plague this district. They are expensive, and further isolate our children due to the long commutes and separation of our children from their community, their families and their peers.
For the foregoing reasons, we are requesting a reputable, independent evaluation of the New Fairfield Special Education Department to be conducted immediately. This evaluation needs to encompass programming and training, as well as the overall performance of Special Education administration and staff. Any evaluation must include a thorough examination of all record-keeping, paperwork and the appropriateness of, and adherence to, existing Individualized Educational Plans and subsequent accommodations. We also request an independent audit of district-wide special education policies and procedures, and want the recommendations of this evaluating body implemented forthwith, to include an immediate restructuring of the Special Education administration and the creation of meaningful enrichment opportunities for our children.