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Parents Call On Charter Schools To Reform Management Of Special Needs Students

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Some parents are demanding city charter schools reform how they manage and discipline their special needs students.

City Councilwoman and likely Public Advocate candidate Letitia James joined parents outside City Hall Thursday.

Frustrated parents said their kids entered charter schools expecting to be taught using programs tailored to their educational and behavioral needs, but they claim that instead of helping them learn, the schools often suspend children for behavioral problems.

Several parents singled out Success Academy, including one case where a 6-year-old at a Brooklyn school was allegedly suspended 20 times.

They said the discipline makes the situation worse.

"He's had all this time out of school," said La-Tasha Williams, a parent of a child who she says was suspended 20 times from school. "After two or three days, it's really detrimental. It affects their self-esteem, their self-worth. These children are bright. They may not conceptualize everything the same way, but they should still have the opportunity to be successful."

In a statement, Success Academy called the allegations inaccurate.

"Councilmember James is exploiting a child's private struggles to advance her political ambition to become Public Advocate," the statement read.

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