Schools purchase new vehicles to transport special needs students
by Larry Chowning
The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors has approved a $57,671 appropriation to the county school system to purchase three new vehicles that will be used to transport special education students, which will include students with autism, to schools in Richmond and elsewhere.
The issue surfaced publicly in April when Kim Dubeau of Remlik told the school board that her son, who is autistic, was being driven to school, 70 minutes away, in a vehicle that was “unsuitable.”
Dubeau said that the vehicle’s air-conditioning did not work and on hot days her son came home sick. She said the vehicles were breaking down on interstate highways and she strongly encouraged the board to find a way to upgrade the vehicles.
Dr. Thomas Taylor informed supervisors at its August 6 meeting that the three new vehicles were needed to carry students with special needs to special schools around the state.
In April, Dr. Taylor stated in a Sentinel article that there were not enough children with certain disabilities in the Middlesex School System to financially warrant providing classrooms and teachers for them within the county. Therefore, the school system was sending these children to schools outside the county. “We believe strongly we are providing parents and children with a high level of structure and support,” he said.
Dr. Taylor said at the August meeting that reliable transportation must be provided for students being taught outside of the county.