Metro School Board Member Faces Criticism Over Quote In Blog Post

Posted at 11:14 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-06 09:05:35-04

A longstanding Nashville educator and school board member has been facing criticism over special education in Metro Schools, saying that sending a student for special education testing was a "gruesome mistake."

The post came from a news blog that Metro Schools has produced called "Children First."

It profiled School Board Vice Chair Jill Speering and said in part, "during her long career in education, she said she only referred one student for special education testing, and she acknowledged that that decision was a 'gruesome mistake.'"

She was quoted in the post as saying "I had condemned [that student] to a life of limited opportunities."

That wording alarmed some parents like Anna Thorsen, who has a child with dyslexia in Metro Schools and is a member of the Tennessee Dyslexia Advisory Council.

"That's really hard because as a parent, I've seen my child thrive getting these services, getting the daily intervention for her dyslexia," Thorsen said.

Metro Schools later removed the wording from the online post, saying they took Speering's quote out of context.

Speering herself echoed those comments, saying, "The story was told from the perspective of a classroom teacher dedicated to taking responsibility for the success of all her students and not delegating that responsibility elsewhere. I support exceptional education students being included in the classroom with other diverse populations. That way all students learn from each other."

Read Speering’s full response on Facebook: