Granite School District has shelved a plan to place junior high students with behavioral disorders in a satellite campus of Hunter Elementary School.
School district spokeswoman Michele Bartmus said the district backed off the proposal because of neighborhood opposition.The district had proposed placing 36 students in a vacant school district building one block from Hunter Elementary School in West Valley City.
The students, who now attend junior highs and elementary schools in the neighborhood, would receive intensive services aimed at eventually returning them to area schools.
District officials assured residents that students would be under constant supervision with a federally mandated 1-to-3 teacher-student ratio. They would be bused to and from the center and would otherwise be under strict supervision.
Parents and area residents who spoke at a community meeting on the proposal last week feared for elementary students' safety with the older children in such close proximity. Other expressed concerns about an increase in crime or that the value of their property would plummet if the program was placed in the neighborhood.
Christine Otto, mother of an 11 year-old boy who has a behavior disorder, said she was disappointed by the decision.
"I think the public needs to be a little more educated on these children, myself. They need to realize we need to do something like this for these kids where they feel safe rather than being in public schools where they're ridiculed," Otto said.
"They need to have individual attention. If they're not getting help by junior high, they hit high school, drop out and get into trouble."
Meantime, the behavior-disorder students will remain at their respective schools for the upcoming school year.
Julene Oliver, assistant superintendent of program services, said district officials believed many of the parents' concerns could be addressed by staggering the school schedules of Hunter Elementary and the satellite campus.
"This is a group of students that needs acceptance. To have a whole community upset, we realized this wasn't the thing to do," Oliver said.
"It's hard to see where we'll have the space to do this, but we'll put it off at least for another year."