Inclusion education should be simple in our schools

Contributing Columnist Jim Ridolphi wrote an excellent editorial on inclusion (1/29/2020) at a time when Hanover County needs to hear the message. His discussion of the research as well as his personal story about the benefits of inclusive education should be received as what is achievable when inclusion is a mindset and not a place.

If I had to challenge Jim, it would be his statement that “... the real benefits of the innovative programs are the students who leave school with a better understanding of how the world actually works ....”

Inclusive education is not a program. We cannot buy an inclusion package and have all students leave our schools better citizens. “Inclusion is simple” (and right) in concept, yes, but our culture of education is such that it is far from simply existing in our schools, and, therefore, our communities.

I am the parent of a student with a disability who sometimes exhibits challenging behaviors. I also am employed in the county as a substitute teacher and instructional assistant.

I understand the concerns that teachers and parents of students in this county are witnessing in some classroom environments. I have seen them first-hand.

But, because all behavior is communication of some sort, I also know that not all students are fully understood either (whether disabled, dealing with mental health issues, trauma, bullying, challenging home environments, etc.). How are we investing in these young lives that are going to allow them to see their skills, their abilities, their value?

We learn from being in community with one another -- not segregated into special places of education.

Yes, specialized instruction and support are required, and that will require thinking and implementation beyond the established norms for how we run education.

In his piece, “The Need to Belong: Rediscovering Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs,” Norman Kunc writes, “[Inclusive education is] the valuing of diversity within the human community ... We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.”

My daughter is always saying, “We’re all in this together.”

Despite her challenges and her being misunderstood, she knows this to be true.

She’s right, too.

Sue Jeantheau


Wegmans’ site decision baffles local reader

With abundant acreage even closer to I-95 just three miles north of the Atlee/Elmont exit (which is free of churches and communities) if baffles me as to why Wegmans has elected to locate their warehouse off of Sliding Hill Road.

Realizing that the Hanover County Board of Supervisors had no power so stop this sale I would hope they at least tried to stand up for the residents of the area and talked to Wegmans about purchasing a more isolated plot of land.

However, noting the board’s desire for unbridled growth and moreover, additional revenue for the county, I doubt this talk ever occurred.

This current batch of supervisors doesn’t seem to have the word “No” in their vocabulary. It has failed in its duties to serve the county’s residents by falling short of retaining the county’s rural-like atmosphere and allowing exponential growth.

The time has come to relieve all of them from their duties next election.

Ken Essigman


‘Go Fund Me’ proposed to buy properties

Sorry to say that the letter from Karri Messina and others on this subject are wasting good time and energy.

There is a simple solution to help with the growth problem and it is not tying to change minds of the people who have an interest in the outcome.

In case you haven’t noticed the “Go Fund Me” idea works very well. Why not do something similar to get money to buy up these properties?

These developers are not normally one man operations. They are a group of investors pooling their money and making big profits.

My idea is to get 200 to 300 people and just contribute $10 to $20 a week each, and after a year or two there would be enough money to start the buying process.

Buy land and sell it off in 25 acre lots, making a profit and with stipulations what it can be used for.

The counties and cities operate on the same principal. They want to buy or build something they just simply raise taxes by way of reassessments and like magic they have the money.

We allow others to forcibly take our money and profit from it so why not do it our self voluntarily.

No need to complain, it’s not going to change a thing. Action on the people’s part will get things done.

I will be a contributor if someone will get it going.

Not only can we protect the land we don’t want big business on but it will eventually be a profitable venture.

Ted Mentz

Old Church

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