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‘Really helpless’: La Pine parents worry after Rosland Elementary special-needs teacher loses job

(Updated: Adding video, comments from parents, school district statement)

Certified special education teacher on unpaid leave for refusing to get vaccine or seek exception

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- La Pine-area parents who rely on special education teachers to assist their children in school are worried, after suddenly learning their children's teaching aide was removed from her job for not following the state vaccine mandate.

Danielle Walsh's 9-year-old son, Wyatt, is in third grade at Rosland Elementary in La Pine. On Monday, he came home with a letter from his special education teacher, saying she was being placed on unpaid leave -- and that the district would not be filling the position with a certified special education teacher.

Wyatt has developmental disabilities and is awaiting an autism diagnosis.

When talking about the uncertainty of her son's education, Walsh was brought to tears.

"I felt really helpless," Walsh told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday.

Monica Clark's son, Tristan, brought home the same letter.

Tristan is in the fifth grade at Rosland Elementary and is about three years behind his peers, with learning and mental health disabilities.

"I was upset. I started crying," Clark said.

Both Walsh and Clark say this was the first they'd heard about the staffing change, and that upset them even more.

"We had the right to know that -- we didn’t need to know the details, but we had the right to know that a member of the children's team, that is legally required to be there, isn't there any more," Clark said.

Like most students with special needs, Wyatt and Tristan go to separate classes and are given accommodations to help them learn.

Their moms worry about what this means, without a certified special education teacher.

"I'm worried my son's not going to get the education that he needs and he deserves," Walsh said.

Clark shares the same sentiment.

"He's going to fall further behind than he already is," she said.

On Tuesday, the principal of Rosland Elementary emailed families with students who have an Individualized Education Plan, saying a substitute teacher will fill in as the replacement until a special education teacher is hired.

A representative with Bend-La Pine schools also issued a statement:

"For those teachers who chose not to comply with the state regulation, we have supported building administration in getting appropriate staff to fulfill those positions. While we understand that this transition creates a change, we are fully confident we can continue to fulfill the educational goals of all of our students."

Walsh and Clark said they know what their children need to succeed and rely on the school district to provide.

"It takes a village to raise a special needs child, and a lot of support," Clark said.

Author Profile Photo

Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

Comments

81 Comments

  1. Unvaccinated people have NO business working with children with disabilities period! Bend Lapine School district has a long history of failing children with disabilities. Pay the teachers more and attract high quality teachers. This would be a non story if they used the covid money from the federal government properly. We would have enough life skills teachers if one left it would not impact the kids.

    1. Interesting. Why should an unvaccinated person not be working with children with disabilities? It’s absolutely astonishing how little those that comment on here actually know. I don’t blame them…MSM has failed them. The fact that so few know, according to the CDC, the vaccinated still spread Covid just the same as unvaccinated is a direct reflection selective reporting by todays media.
      I will say that I agree that teachers should be paid more. I would also add, that we should have “school choice.”

        1. Has KTVZ had an article informing their audience that vaccinated or not you can still transmit covid just same? You always seem to respond with something nobody is question and indirectly, yet clearly supporting the firing of a person that literally has zero impact on the students. If I’m wrong tell me what impact a vaccinated verse unvaccinated person has on the students?

          1. People who are vaccinated do not “transmit covid just the same”. While a vaccinated person CAN still be infected with COVID, the chances of that happening are low and the duration of the infection is much shorter.

            1. Incorrect. According to CDC, vaccinated transmit covid with the same viral load as the unvaccinated. It’s on the CDC website and the director of the CDC has stated this publicly several times. Also, according to the CDC, being vaccinated does not reduce your chances of getting covid. The vaccine reduces symptoms.

      1. They pass it but it’s not the same… and data proves the outcomes for the vaccinated is way better. Most folks know that. Your “educated opinion” is what killed an immunocompromised Colin Powell. There is “school choice”; private school and home schooling are an option.

        1. My “educated opinion” is what killed Colin Powell? Not sure what opinion I provided that makes me responsible for someone’s death. I anticipate your reasoning for this comment. However, since you brought up Colin Powell, I’d like to point out that CNN did a great job of pointing out that, while Colin Powell was vaccinated, his death was in large part due to underlying conditions. Meanwhile if an unvaccinated person dies, with underlying conditions, it’s because they are (of course) not vaccinated. Prior to covid, and you had cancer, or were immunocompromised and got, let’s say the flu, and ultimately died then it was still considered a cancer death. How is that labeled now? Back to your first point – transmission of covid, vaxed or not, has the same viral load…at least according to the director of the CDC. Not my opinion. The options you provided for school choice are correct. However, if it were real school choice then I would receive a tax voucher for sending my kids to private school, and not be paying taxes for public school AND paying for private school. If parents were able to take their tax dollars dollars and apply it to private school then the public school system would suffer…have you heard/seen what they’re teaching kids there? Now that, is my opinion.

            1. Haha – actually I enjoy the responses. Many of you on here chime in in support of what’s happening without actually knowing what’s happening. I do my best to provide the information that MSM fails to report. Oddly, many of you get angry for me spreading the truth.

            1. Umm, what numbers? The information I’m posting throughout this comment section is not something I made up…it’s from the CDC! You’re doing your best to prove my comments wrong – I’m simply telling you what the CDC says. Lol – and you still think I’m wrong.

          1. Uh, no…if were undergoing cancer treatment and you were chugging along just fine until influenza killed you, that would be a death from influenza with cancer as a comorbidity.

          2. “have you heard/seen what they’re teaching kids there?”

            Yes…I frequently assist my son with his homework. They teach math, science, geography, reading, etc. Nothing particularly unusual or sinister like the idiots in right-wing media keep lying about.

            1. Barney – this post violates your TOS. Oh wait, sorry, just read it again – his comment was directed towards “idiots” in the right-wing media. We’re good. Someguy, I’m assuming you are unaware of CRT – you know, teaching students that based on the color of your skin you are either the oppressor or oppressed.

      2. What the CDC says is that the vaccines have 66% efficacy against Delta. (Higher against other strains, but the well-evolved Delta is currently the lion’s share of cases.) Which means someone who is vaccinated is less likely to catch COVID.

        Now, if anyone catches Delta, they’re just as likely to spread it while they’re contageous, vaccinated or not. Everyone knows this, it’s been widely published, I read about it on this website, and it’s not some secret.

        But the fact that vaccinated people less likely to catch it at all is extremely important to limiting the spread.

        Separately, the fact that vaccinated people are contageous for less time than unvaccinated people is also extremely important to limiting the spread.

        And I’d argue that those two pieces of information tend to be left off when people say “vaxxed are just as likely to spread it”. I’m not sure whose failure that is.

        1. Thanks Beej. I agree with much of what you say. I think we can agree that most who get covid will have mild symptoms, vaccinated or not? I would argue the vaccine does not reduce your chances of catching covid, however. The 66% number you provided is skewed. When an unvaccinated person catches covid and has mild symptoms the CDC counts that as a covid case. However, when a vaccinated person catches covid and has mild symptoms the CDC does not count that as a covid case. The cdc stopped counting these cases back in may. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/25/health/cdc-coronavirus-infections-vaccine.html I’m not saying I know the true efficacy the vaccine provides in terms catching the virus, just that 66% is unlikely.

    2. Thats a great point! The District knew this was coming the day they chose to enforce the mandate. Why did they do nothing to help the children? Was it because they want to cause panic and use this as an excuse not to do their jobs or for those elected, what they were elected to do? Regardless, time for them to go! Recall the Board, Fire the Superintendent and start over! That’s what the children deserve!

      1. The district did not have a choice….they were given an ultimatum – much like those that serve in the schools. Either enforce this mandate or lose funding.

          1. What accommodations? I happen to be very aware of at least one of those school districts. I know of the struggles…understaffed. Many left after last years mask mandate. Does a teacher or staff member being vaccinated provide better protection for the students? If so, how?

            1. Yes, it does!

              Students will be less likely to need to quarantine and miss class because teachers are less likely to get COVID.

              By extension, students are less likely to become ill with COVID.

              The risk is low of COVID complications and death for kids, but this also minimizes that, for whatever that’s worth. (I personally know a kid who can’t eat meat anymore–it all tastes rotten a year after getting COVID. Would you want all meat to taste rotten for the rest of your kid’s life?)

              Students are less likely to miss class because their teacher became ill or died from COVID and a substitute could not be found, not to mention the trauma of a teacher dying unexpectedly.

              I would never teach in person without up-to-date vaccinations, including flu. And I have never. I say it’s the right thing to do to protect the students.

              Will they survive flu? Sure. Is me giving them the flu good for their education? No, it decidedly is not. Same with COVID.

    3. Unvaccinated have EVERY right to work with children with disabilities. You have NO right to tell parents of children with disabilities who they want to work with their child. As someone who is a parent of a child with severe autism, I wholeheartedly support those special education teachers who have every right to choose to not be vaccinated and I have no qualms with them teaching my child.

      1. They have a right to not be vaccinated and the state and feds have the right to require a vaccination. She chose her path it’s just sad for the kids…

    4. I’d say the special ed employee didn’t give a rat’s patootie about the physical health of her students or she’d have followed the working conditions of her employment. This is on her.

  2. Sounds like you don’t want her teaching the kids anyway. She obviously doesn’t care about the kids, or she would get the vaccine. Your rights don’t outweigh the children , ever. They will always be more important than you.

    1. Huh? Barney, this is getting a little silly. This is what should be considered “risky and false” information. This comment, and many like it, gives the false impression that the vaccinated do not transmit covid. CnLr – what difference does it make to the children if the teachers aid is vaccinated or unvaccinated….in terms of safety?

        1. Oh, and here I’ve been told I need to provide sources to support my comments…especially when they are “dangerous, false, or risky.” Isn’t is dangerous, risky, and false to suggest that if your vaccinate you can’t transmit covid? What you’ve done here, again, is continue to ignore your own article. The article, nor do the comments, discuss the vaccines ability to reduce symptoms in the vaccinated. What we’re doing here is discussing, as the article suggests, that the vaccinated can’t transmit covid. If being vaccinated limits the transmission rate then please share your source. Otherwise, firing anyone for not being vaccinated further proves that this is NOT about stopping the pandemic, thinking of the community, protecting children, rather this is about getting everyone vaccinated.

    1. Vaccinated – spread covid——————Unvaccinated – spread covid. Guess what…they are no different. The idea that some here continue to post dangerous and false information freely.

        1. While we do not agree on most things I do appreciate that we able to comment here. With said, I’d like to point out it’s a fact that the vaccinated transmit covid with the same viral load as the unvaccinated.

            1. Let’s assume that vaccines are more effective just as the Ministry of Truth declares. Therefore we want to get as many of the most vulnerable to be vaccinated first as they are the ones clogging the hospitals as the MOT declares. But how do we best accomplish this? By convincing people of this by using facts or by forcing them to be vaccinated by mandate. Look at the vaccination rates in Oregon and Florida. They are pretty much the same. Florida never forced anyone to be vaccinated, but they did try to convince people to get vaccinated. Their Governor was vaccinated and pushed to get his most vulnerable citizens to be vaccinated but he never forced anyone. The citizens of Florida were never forced to wear masks. They were asked to. Florida never closed its schools. Kids in Oregon missed a lot of education. Businesses in Florida remained open and this kept many people from losing income, homes etc. Now look at the covid rates per 100K currently in Florida and Oregon. These links are from the New York Times via a Google search. I would have linked to the NYT directly but you will be blocked unless you have a subscription.
              You are now according to the NYT at less risk of contracting or dying of Covid in Florida than you are in Oregon.

              https://www.google.com/search?q=florida+covid+rates&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&oq=&aqs=chrome.2.35i39i362l4j46i39i199i362i465l2j35i39i362j46i39i362…8.2850827945j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

              https://www.google.com/search?q=oregon+covid+rates&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&oq=&aqs=chrome.5.35i39i362l6j46i39i199i362i465l2…8.2850839157j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        1. Really, Barney? This is a joke. He insinuates I’M simple and my response is the one that’s blocked?!? Sorta like my comment to you earlier that was blocked. None of it went against your TOS…it wasn’t risky, dangerous, or false. Part of it was opinion, yes, but as you stated here tonight opinions are okay. You allow posts with disparaging comments about Trump all day, but I’m willing to bet if I even hinted a negative comment towards our great current President, Mr. Biden, you’d smash that comment before I finished writing it. This only further proves the biased nature of KTVZ.

        1. My screen name indicates I understand the fraud took place in the 2020 election. Is it just me? Nope, prior to the 2020 election multiple prominent democrats, including the current sitting VP, stating our elections are easy to manipulate and “our voting systems can easily be hacked.” Then fraud occurs and everyone says “most secure election ever.” I realize the MSM didn’t disclose the findings at the Arizona senate hearing. Now, you saying I’m spreading disinformation regarding my comments on here. What is it that you’re referring to?

  3. The idea that becoming Covid vaccinated keeps you from spreading Covid fell apart several months ago when the CDC acknowledged it. I see from comments here that the news didn’t get widespread. Sorry folks; your kids are more likely to be exposed to Covid from vaccinated teachers who get Covid and carry a high viral load but don’t feel very sick. We are no longer forcing teacher vaccination as a means to protect the kids; now we are forcing teacher vaccination to keep them from clogging up the hospitals. Same action but an evolving narrative.

      1. Thanks, Bob. Your numbers appear to be accurate…for the United States. Other countries, with much higher vaccination rates, report differently. Regardless, if I wear my seat belt, who does that protect? If I get vaccinated, who does that protect? Are you safer if I wear my seat belt? Are you safer if I’m vaccinated? The answer is no. So how do you support firing an individual that works with kids, for not being vaxed?

          1. So what? Does being vaccinated make any difference in how you transmit the virus? No it doesn’t. In fact, common sense might suggest that a vaccinated person might not feel ill and would be more likely to go around spreading the flu.

          2. Yes, but for that comparison to be accurate then: you’re wearing your seat belt.——I’m not wearing a seat belt.——- We have a head on collision. I am safer because you wore a seat belt. Doesn’t make sense does it? The issue is that many here, and in our government, thinks this makes sense.

              1. Ahh, well Bob is the one that tried to compare seat belts to the vaccine. I simply pointed out the flaw in that argument. However, if this is now about reducing insurance costs (kudos to the government, BTW, for finally finding a way to reduce insurance cost)… after firing all these people I’m looking forward to a reduced rate to help cover the cost inflation. If we are concerned about insurance costs, then why is Medicare paying 20% “enhancement” to hospitals to use certain drugs to treat covid? I shared the link the other night with you…from the Medicare website. Not opinion.

  4. Good for her for not getting the poison. I feel bad for the students who need that kind of teacher.. but in the end its the democrat minds fault that is causing all of this. When the silly mandates are gone this will finally all end…. Stop voting Democrat and save the country!

      1. First of all, as long as the democrats are in charge mask mandates will never go away. Never! If the children are vaccinated they have nothing to worry about. For those children who are at high risk and are too young just get another special needs teacher who chose to get the jab. Do you see any mandates for teachers having to get a flu vaccine? No! Not all children with special needs are at a high risk.

  5. *quits her job. Its important that we use the correct terminology in cases like this. If she didnt put her own ignorance before the welfare of her students she would still be employed. And parents are better off without someone like this teaching their children.

    1. I agree she “quit” as she had the opportunity for various remedies. However, making a personal choice that you don’t support isn’t ignorance. Although you wouldn’t know it the way the Bloods and Crips fight on this message board. The real crime is that the District knew this was coming and did ZERO about it!

      1. It is false that the district didn’t do anything about it. They have done a very effective job at communicating with the staff members regarding deadlines and expectations. One of the issues the district has with regards to certain jobs; such as, special education, is there are not enough people applying for those jobs, let alone those who want to commute or live in La Pine. Historically, there are unfilled jobs in La Pine which continue until today. Teachers and staff who waited until the deadline, send letters to families, the woe is me… they knew they would loose their job, they are seeking attention by doing it this way, in my opinion. Oregon’s educator licenses are some of the most transferable in the nation because of our standards. They can work in a state that doesn’t require it, if that more aligns with their values and beliefs.

    2. Ignorance? Pot calling the kettle black? I would argue it’s ignorant to think that being vaccinated limits, reduces, eliminates, the spread of the virus. I’d it does none of these things then requiring vaccination does nothing to protect the children. *Correct terminology would be “given an ultimatum.”

      1. “I would argue it’s ignorant to think that being vaccinated limits, reduces, eliminates, the spread of the virus.”

        Vaccines DO limit and reduce the spread of viruses, so I don’t know what to tell you other than that your view is truly ignorant.

      2. What field is your degree in? A hard science at least I hope. Or are you one of those that does all their research on the internet, mostly utube? I’m guessing it’s something like “But I found this website where one doctor says it’s bad.”

        1. Attacks on character and questioning degrees are desperate. Argue facts with facts. The truth is truth whether it is presented by a child or by a top scientist. The same applies to lies. The source only matters to those who cannot make their argument with facts. The great people in science have normally gone against the status quo and were not immediately accepted until their ideas were finally realized to be accurate. A critical part of science is questioning the results of what is being proclaimed as correct. If you just accept something because someone with a degree said it then you are not a scientist or qualified to make a statement of absolute fact on that subject. Are the vaccines safe and effective with no long-term side effects? No one yet knows this for sure. The experts can speculate that they are safe long term, but they do not know this for certain as the time required to make that determination has not yet passed. In a few years, we will know. This is why prior to Covid-19 the FDA ALWAYS required YEARS of testing on any new drug before it went into widespread usage. Questioning the declarations of proclaimed “experts” is the backbone of science. Take that out of science and it is no longer science. It is just an idea.

          1. Thank you, Bendskier. Excellent response. It’s common on here for those who an incapable of understanding the facts around covid to bash those who provide truth. Surely we must have a degree is science to be able to read, research, and disseminate that information. If we don’t have science degree then only MSM is capable of translating it to us less educated. ——- For those that are curious, yes I do have a degree, but not in science. I also, have two family members who are ER nurses and a pharmacist in my family. However, a six grade education and a desire for truth is all that’s needed understand that these mandates are garbage.

  6. This “special needs” “teacher” thinks vaccines cause Autism. She believes the nonsense of a former playboy playmate. She can get a job somewhere else. Buh bye

  7. Move to over 90% of the states who don’t have a tyrannical governor mandating tyranny. People are leaving Oregon in mass exodus. Follow them to freedom. Don’t wait. Oregon is a S hole and is not going to change thanks to the kooks in Portland and Eugene

    1. They were “FORCED” to make a choice. Get an injection they felt was wrong for their situation or LOSE their jobs. Florida kept schools open through the whole thing and now has half the covid rate per 100K of Oregon. Plus businesses in Florida stayed opened and no one was “FORCED” to wear a mask anywhere. Florida asked people to do things and then allowed people to make their own UNFORCED choice. If the goal is to lower the rate of Covid per 100K, Oregon should adopt the policies of Florida and quit FORCING people to do things against their beliefs. What if the experts determine that Ivermectin actually works to help prevent Covid. Would you like to be FORCED to take it or asked to take it?

      1. Florida peaked earlier on this round. Check out the values at the peaks.

        25K (10x) cases for 21M (5x) people in Florida.

        2500 cases for 4.2M people in Oregon.

        There could be a lot of reasons behind that, but Florida wasn’t all wine and roses.

        The FORCED issue doesn’t come into play for a lot of people. I’m FORCED to do a lot of things by law. I choose to do virtually all of them. We have almost everyone in a position of authority with access to the best medical care on all sides of the political spectrum, on a global scale, including Trump, saying the vaccine is safe, effective, and that we should get it. I’m not willing to disbelieve all of them. Seems like every bit as good move as not driving drunk–something the government FORCES me to not do.

        Besides, the law doesn’t say you have to get vaccinated. (Although, according to SCOTUS, it would still be legal if it did.)

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