Encouraging positive outcomes for chronically, acutely, mentally or physically ill or pregnant students, their families and local education systems
Parents of Students with Health Needs
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MD Gazette Editorial
The Maryland Gazette has since closed. Since it was impossible to link to the article, it is pasted in below.
Maryland Community News Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Parents helping parents in Prince George’s
There are many Prince George’s County students who not only deal with chronic illnesses, but must also face the challenge of keeping up with schoolwork even when they are forced to miss significant amounts of class time.
Unfortunately, it’s a group that goes unnoticed all too often, as parents may not be able to be involved in PTAs or other school organizations that would make their challenges known because they are busy at home or in hospitals caring for their ailing children.
Fortunately, two Prince George’s County women are making an effort to get more support for those families and formed an advocacy group called Prince George’s Parents of Ill or Pregnant Students. (NOTE: WE HAVE CHANGED OUR NAME TO Parents of Students with Health Needs.)
Beth McCracken-Harness of Cheverly and Lisa Brooks-Wilkins of Capitol Heights, who each have a child coping with a chronic illness, hope the group will help parents navigate the difficulties involved in ensuring their children receive a solid education despite their circumstances. In addition to sharing resources and advocating for more program funding, group members can accompany other parents to meetings with school officials. Such help is sure to make the education system, which can feel like a bureaucratic giant at times, a bit less intimidating.
McCracken-Harness said there are more than 500 students in the county school system’s Home and Hospital Teaching division, which oversees instructional services to homebound and hospitalized students. About a dozen parents attended the group’s first meeting earlier this month.
For the majority of Prince Georgians who may never have to deal with such challenges,
formation of such a group may not seem like a big deal — but it is.
Writer George Eliot once wrote, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?” Clearly, McCracken-Harness and Brooks-Wilkins are working to do just that: make life a little bit easier for parents and their children dealing with illnesses.
They should be commended for their effort to help a population that is rarely in the spotlight.