Panel discusses issues and challenges in SPED


Briyana Anderson/The Lion's Roar

Jessica Walker speaks to the audience during the forum. The panel discussed matters concerning the interests of students, faculty and teachers in special education.

The College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology sponsored the panel “Creating a Market Place of Ideas: Equity Among Special Education Students” on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.

The panel consisted of members that are apart of the educational system and advocates of special education as well as Miss Southeastern 2020, Janine Hatcher, who’s platform is R.I.P. – Respect Individual Potential.

The panel consisted of three parts, each had a set of questions pertaining to special education students and the issues that are faced in the education system. Parts of the panel included resources for SPED students and teachers, high-stakes testing for SPED students and other challenging topics in the system.

Dr. John W. Hatcher III, assistant professor of educational leadership and technology, explained why the panel was held.

“I think it is important for us to talk about some of the challenging topics in education,” said Hatcher. “Who better to have those conversations than a panel of our stakeholders, our principals, parents, teachers, students and right community service people.”

John Hatcher explained that the forum helped individuals understand challenges and how to face them.

“Everybody needs to be at the table when we talk about these issues so we can get a true understanding of what it is that we are dealing with,” said Hatcher. “Then, we can talk about, ‘So what do we do now?’ and we can work through these things.”

John Hatcher commented on the experience of this year’s panel.

“This is our seventh or eighth time actually doing a forum, on the educational topics, and they just keep getting better,” said Hatcher. “I’m excited about it because, you know, we go from topic to topic, but it is always something relevant. Any challenge we have in education, it’s coming.”

Janine Hatcher expressed her interest in the forum and her experience on the panel.

“With my platform R.I.P., I am hoping to shed light on the percentage of non-graduating teens that we have, and that includes those students,” said Hatcher. “I wanted to be apart of the panel and serve as a student’s or peer’s perspective with those students. I had a lot of fun and learned definitely a lot from the other panelists.”