District Apologizes After One Parent Complains Over Toilet Brush Gift
By Sara Marls
Officials from the Stevens Point Public School District on Friday apologized to the families of special needs students after it was learned one teacher gave several students cleaning supplies as part of a graduation gift.
At least one parent of a special needs student complained after that student came home with a toilet bowl brush and toilet cleanser as part of a gift basket which also included a gift card, photo frame and other household items. The gifts were given by Sue Felder, who teaches in the SPASH Life Skills Center. A call to Felder at SPASH was not immediately returned.
The Life Skills Center currently operates in a small apartment across from the school on Northpoint Drive. Students with cognitive disabilities learn independent living skills such as household chores, basic home finance and cooking.
Officials from the district on Friday confirmed Felder did give the supplies as a gift to six graduation students. The district released the following statement on the matter:
“As part of the Stevens Point Area Public School District’s mission to prepare each student to be successful, the District has in place a Life Skills Center program. This program, which serves students with cognitive disabilities, promotes the learning of independent living and basic work skills.
Recently, a Life Skills Center teacher gave students a congratulatory card and gift basket as graduation gifts. All of the items were purchased with the teacher’s personal funds. Among the items in the gift basket was a brush and some cleaner. The items were included to reinforce the independent living skills and other gains that students had made during their time in the program.
While school staff did not mean for the gift to be offensive, school and District staff understand how parents maybe find the gift to be so. For that, school and District staff offer parents their most sincere apology for the situation. Moving forward, students in the Life Skills Center program will be given gifts appropriate for graduation from high school.
The District regrets causing any offense and is committed to ensuring that this type of situation does not occur again.”