CT school uses controversial labeling of special needs students

"The intention was the right one, the way it played out was definitely wrong"

(CNN) – Controversy at a Connecticut school, after labels were used to identify students with special needs.

Hartford Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez said, “The intention was the right one, the way it played out was definitely wrong.”

The Hartford Schools Superintendent is apologizing for a training exercise at Sand School that had students being identified with stickers.

Dr. Schiavino-Narvaez said, “Not acceptable, not in line with our values of equity and excellence in the Hartford Public Schools. It was an isolated incident and will not happen again.”

Administrators say that one time incident had students with special needs wearing green stickers. Students who were still learning English were marked with yellow stickers. And students who had special needs “and” were still learning English got blue stickers, while the rest of the student body had red and orange stickers. Superintendent Narvaez says the intention was to better identify children, but admits, it was handled in the wrong way.

Dr. Schiavino-Narvaez said, “The intention was the right intention, to try and understand how we better meet the needs of our English language learners and special needs in our classrooms.”

Migdaly Cruz is a mother of a Sand student who has special needs and is still learning English. She doesn’t know if her boy was labeled, but is worried that singling out certain students could damage their confidence.

Migdaly Cruz said, “They don’t need a sticker to identify that kid. Teachers have to know each one of their kids.”

Superintendent Narvaez says there is an ongoing investigation into the incident. She did not know if anyone involved would face discipline.

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