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Citing an “erosion of trust” and “numerous concerns,” including concerns for children’s safety, the N.C. State Board of Education unanimously voted Thursday to revoke the charter of Dynamic Community Charter, a Wake County school that serves only children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The state board followed the recommendation of a smaller panel of board representatives who heard Dynamic’s appeal to remain open. Board members initially voted to begin the revocation process in March, pointing to the school’s financial troubles, academic irregularities and improper teacher certification.
On Thursday, state staff said they appeared close to resolution with the school in April, but new unspecified concerns arose in May. Site visits between May 8 and May 12 confirmed the concerns, staff reported, as well as “situations where the school had been untruthful in dealing with” DPI. The Indy is working to obtain a copy of a list of those concerns.
(Update: Among the concerns, state staff reported students were not being properly supervised, administrators were distributing “scripts” to staff for DPI interactions to “divert attention” from school practices, individual lesson plans for students were not being properly developed and there were “many” instances in which students were placed or left in unsafe situations.)
Throughout the process, Dynamic leaders have argued that the state’s allegations are either unfair or untrue. Meanwhile, parents with children at Dynamic have said they believe the school’s teaching is effective.
On Thursday, the school issued a scathing condemnation of the board’s decision, denying that Dynamic was unsafe and claiming state personnel violated students’ civil rights by sitting in on classes and interviewing students.
“Inadequate and delayed funding, continual harassment and misinformation, and targeted discriminatory actions by (DPI) have made it impossible to move forward as a charter school,” the school said in its statement.
Disability rights advocates have been reluctant to offer any support for the school, largely because many believe such students should be integrated, as much as possible, into traditional public schools.
In April, Disability Rights N.C. Executive Director Vicki Smith told the Indy that the school’s model was a form of segregation. “Our mission is to get people out of segregation,” Smith said.