Lee County teacher shortage affecting parents

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Right now, schools have a shortage of everything, but some things kids cannot go without, and parents have had enough.

On September 20, the principal of Gateway Elementary informed a group of parents that “our district is experiencing a speech-language pathologist shortage. This will impact speech and or language services for the students at our school.”

“Our school system sucks right now, and I’m sorry, but there’s no other language for me to say it,” said an anonymous mom.

This mom’s son is four years old. He has autism and needs a little extra help with things like his speech.

The mom said the lack of speech pathologists is just one problem she and her son must deal with daily, all because of the ongoing Lee County Schools teacher shortage.

For example: there are 24 kids in her son’s exceptional student education, or ESE, class.

“You’re gonna put 24 ESE autistic children with so many issues in one classroom. It’s ridiculous. He started pushing another kid, and the kid pushed him back, and when the kid pushed him back, he fell, and he hit the back of his head. Yesterday, I had to pick him up because he has an allergy to milk, and he drank milk,” the mom said.

Worse, she says someone on staff is supposed to check and change her son’s diaper, but she said that doesn’t happen regularly.

The mom said she is afraid to send her little boy back to Gateway Elementary.

Her plan is to look at private schools but worries she won’t find one that will take him.

“I can’t afford it. I really can’t afford it. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but if I have to get a third job, I will,” the mom said.

She believes that with the right kind of help, her son will live a happy and successful life, so she and her son can’t afford to wait for Lee County Schools to solve its teacher shortage.

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