Special needs require congregated schools

Letter to editor of Toronto Star   re. April 26 & 30, Lessons in Acceptance

I take exception to the responses the Toronto Star received espousing abolishing congregated schools and programs. They argue that all students with special needs, without exception, must be integrated into regular classes.

This approach is ignorant of the needs of children in congregated schools. Across the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) there are many families that choose these programs. These families recognize their child's needs are best served in an environment that enables them to cope, feel safe and welcomed. In many cases these students cannot tolerate regular classroom placements — too many people, too much stimulation, too fast paced for them to manage.

The proponents of "inclusion for all" presume they alone speak for everyone with special needs. They do not. They presume their answer is the only acceptable one. Clearly, it is not.

Saddest of all, many of those who insist the TDSB close its congregated schools have never set foot in one. If they did, they would respect the families and highly committed staff who work to make every day count for these children.
Christina Buczek