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Dori: Sultan School Board member’s question on special ed was fair

The Sultan School District admin building. (Sultan School District Facebook)

I know so many families that have children with special needs. I know the challenges of it. And I know that the resources in our schools for special needs are a godsend for these families. It lets the kids be around other kids and learn social skills in a supportive environment. It would be folly for me or for anybody who has not walked in your shoes to suggest that we have any idea what it is like, but I am amazed at the angels on Earth who raise kids with special needs.

A petition is being circled around for Sultan School Board member Ed Husmann to resign after he made a comment that offended parents. When told that the law required every student, including those with special needs, to be educated, he said, “Some kids are un-educatable.”

As KING 5 reported, this guy was not just commenting on something he knows nothing about. His wife adopted a son with brain damage who died at 38. Husmann has personal family experience with special needs. He lived that. With his comment to the school board, he was simply saying that as a school board member, he was asking the question of how the money was best allocated.

That’s a fair question.

Day on the lake shows kids with special needs their true capabilities

I know it’s considered toxic to ask questions like that because they’re not politically correct. And if this guy had no clue what he was talking about when it came to special needs, it would be much easier to criticize him. But it sounds like he’s lived it.

As a Sultan School Board member, he knows he has a fiduciary responsibility to spend tax money in the best way possible. Special education is an incredibly large line item in school budgets. Again, it is a constitutionally-mandated requirement that we educate all kids. There is a special needs spectrum, and at the far end are some children who have severe impairments. The reality is, in that spectrum, there are some people who are highly functioning, and there are some who will need care their entire lives.

A mother of two children with special needs interviewed in the KING 5 story pointed out that special ed does not just provide academic skills — important life skills are also taught. The mom is absolutely right. Based on her life experience, I completely understand where she is coming from. I’m not saying the school board member is right. I’m also not saying he should be removed. I think it’s healthy to have conversations like this.

But how have we gotten to the point where because people got offended over a board member raising a legitimate question, we have to remove the person who asked it from the board? Cancel Culture has gotten ridiculous. School board members must bring up questions about how best to spend funds we’ve entrusted with them. It would be irresponsible not to raise questions like that. But I know that’s not the politically correct thing to say, and I know that anytime anyone strays from the bounds of politically correctness, Cancel Culture jumps in.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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