Regarding the case of Bowen Levy (”Anne Arundel County schools agrees to pay $2.5 million in consent decree settling Bowen Levy lawsuit,” May 5), the student who died after ingesting a rubber glove, the reason that special education programs are understaffed is that Maryland considers the important people who are responsible for working directly with students all day to be temporary employees.
By doing this, the school systems are allowed to get away with not giving them yearly raises or benefits. Those who have been in such positions for years are paid the same as those who are in their first year. There is room for advancement from these positions, but not everyone is equipped to move up, as it often takes more schooling or, at the least, passing a test to become a paraeducator. When worked in a California school system, I was a special education assistant. I received benefits after moving to a position where I worked at least five hours a day.
If we want to improve the staffing numbers, we must offer pay that is competitive with non-school-based jobs. At the very least, the special schools, which serve our most fragile students, should be allowed to hire the people who work with their students in a permanent position.
— Anita G. Brown, Baltimore
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