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West Iron County discusses additional resource room

IRON RIVER—The annual audit and the delayed hiring of a middle school physical education teacher were two of the main items during the West Iron County School Board’s regular meeting Nov. 19.
    Beyond that, though, the possible need for an additional resource room was the main topic.
    Elementary Principal Michelle Thomson explained to board members that her school needs an additional resource room, which could be located in her present office with Thomson moving to another, unspecified room.
    Thomson said the state wants every pupil, including special ed kids, to be in the least restrictive educational environment, spending the entire school day with their peers.
    “There are some very special needs kids in our building right now that need additional support,” she said.
    At present, such students can be placed in a resource room, but the additional room would be available if any of them become physically disruptive there as well.
    “It’s a special needs child—that part of it we understand,” Thomson said. “But we’re trying to keep kids safe and give everybody an education.”  
    The additional resource room would have room for two pupils and maybe two more who only need a break for about 30 minutes. There would be an aide in the room for each student.
    The principal asked about interviewing some elementary special ed teachers at Northern Michigan about a job in charge of the room. If that doesn’t work out, current staff members could be pulled from their classes—putting more of a burden on other teachers.
    Superintendent Chris Thomson said the district may have to hire a teacher for just one or two pupils.
    “But this isn’t going to solve the problem. And we’re going to get challenged, and there’s a potential we lose at the state level, even with this program.”
    The superintendent said terms like “free and appropriate” and “least restrictive” mean different things to different people.

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