With hundreds of Special Needs Assistant positions being cut, and a 10% cut in the number of resource teachers, parents, teachers and Special Needs Assitants across the country are now getting organised to fight back.
The new campaign against these cuts, SNAP, has been launched at various meetins across the country. Just this week, a meeting organised by Cllr Ruth Coppinger (Socialist Party) in Dublin West on Monday saw 100 turn out, whilst 40 attended a meeting last night in Carlow, both of which have set up campaigns.
The next step in this campaign is a national meeting and a protest called for Wednesday 13 July in Dublin. This is being organised by a number of TDs from the United Left Alliance and some Independents, who are tabling a motion on this issue, and by local groups of special needs assistants, parents and teachers.
The details of the events on Wednesday July 13th are:
3pm – protest at Dail, Kildare St, Dublin, to coincide with Dail motion on special needs cutbacks.
4:30pm – meeting to establish a national campaign committee, Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin.
These meetings have nailed the lie from the government that there will not be cuts to children in need of the most learning support. Some special needs assistants (SNAs) have already been told their jobs are gone and are extremely upset at leaving the students they have bonded with.
According to Councillor Ruth Coppinger “Principals in Dublin 15 believe they are losing an average of two SNAs, 10% of resource teaching and language support teachers. “
Another worrying development is that special needs children are to have their cases reviewed by a team of SENOs (Special Education Needs Organisers) who are being dubbed “SAY NOs” by many SNAs as it is now clear this ‘review’ is merely a battering ram for cutting hundreds of SNA jobs this summer.
According to a SNAP campaign organiser Roisin O’Mahony: “People are losing their jobs and the most vulnerable children are losing their supports at school be it a special needs assistant or resource time. These children can’t speak for themselves. It is up to SNAs and parents to speak up and campaign for justice on this issue.”
If we allow these cuts through, education will be set back decades. Children who need help will be left struggling. They will either act out, effecting the entire class, or have to leave school and be further marginalised. The message is that we won’t allow children suffer more for the crimes of the bankers and speculators.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, special needs assistant or just outraged by these cuts make sure to come out on July 13th and show this government that we will not accept this attack on those with special needs.
SNAP, or alternatively SNAPT, stands fo Special Needs Assistants, Parents & Teachers. If you would like to get involved in building this campaign, contact Cllr Ruth Coppinger and Joe Higgins TD via 01-613370