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LETTER: Case is all about student safety

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To the Editor:

The March 7, 2013 edition of the New Richmond News article "DWD denies claim against school district."

The case of Pam O'Reilly, a former New Richmond special education teacher, vs. the New Richmond School District has been dismissed by the Department of Workforce Development. Everything about this article seems slanted; but maybe that was because there were no quotes from Ms. O' Reilly, not even a "could not be reached for comment."

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The main story is about a hook, which most reasonable people would call a safety hook to hang a wheelchair on.

"According to the district's response, O'Reilly's request was denied because her new classroom at Paperjack had ample room for her to leave the wheelchair on the floor when it wasn't in use." A further response from the investigator stated, "As long as O'Reilly was allowed access to her wheelchair at work, the manner in which it was stored is irrelevant in this case."

Common sense did not prevail in this case. Now all I can think of is that either these clunks have no children or have never been to an elementary classroom, yet alone a special education classroom.

It's a wheelchair; it's a speed racer especially in a large classroom. You can walk into an office, garage or classroom, anywhere there are wheels and someone will be rolling, spinning, sliding, racing or crashing.

This is not about convenience, the hook is about safety; the safety of children. When those who are charged with the safety of our children and their education cannot figure this out, we have a major problem called negligence.

It is time to get the wheels spinning before we are left on the hook for the short sighted decisions of the district administration and school board.

Mark Jackelen

New Richmond

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