Parents To Bring Up RVP During Frederick County School Board Meeting

They want it reinstated for their children.

Frederick, Md (KM) A coalition of parents is continuing to fight to save the Remote Virtual Program for third through eighth grade students in Frederick County Public Schools. The program lets students with special education needs, such as autism, medically fragile, immune-compromised, ADHA, mental health disorders or other reasons, attend classes through a computer rather than the traditional brick and mortar building. The Board of Education has eliminated the program for students from third through eighth grade, to balance the School System’s budget.

Penelope Campbell,  who is the mother of two children who are autistic. says her kids don’t function very well in a traditional classroom. “Due to the fact that they are on the spectrum, they find it very overwhelming to be in large classes, in busy buildings , in large cafeterias. It’s make it inconducive to learn in that type of environment,” she said.

She says the RVP program has made it easier for her two sons to learn. “And so this environment has actually worked very well for them, and they have been not only able to learn, but to excel,” Campbell says.

It’s called a program, but Campbell says it’s a school. “There’s a principal; there’re counselors. There’re teachers. It is a full, working functional school that these children are in. They have found their community where they all feel accepted and able to learn. For the fist time, ever, my kid along with many other kids, actually love school. and want to go, and want to attend,’ she says.

For many children going to school, it’s not only a chance to learn, but a chance to socialize and make friends. Campbell says students in RVP also get the chance to make friends. “They are still talking to each other, even if it is through a computer. They do break out rooms where they work together on assignments. They convesate.  A lot of them make friends that they will meet with outside of the school time setting,” she says.

In May, the Board of Education balanced the budget for fiscal year 2025 for the Frederick County School System, and that included cutting the Remote Virtual Program for students in grades three through eight. The program continues in the high schools. Campbell hopes she and other parents will get the Board of Ed to reconsider. “We have been working diligently behind the scenes and we have been talking with people,–certain government officials–who are very interested in what’s going on, as well as doing our part in reading policies and procedures and doing the research. So, hopefully, this time they’ll hear us,” she says.

Campbell, like many other parents,  was  upset at the May 29th Board of Education meeting when they were not able to testify about the RVP program after waiting for five hours.

By Kevin McManus