School Board against Shortbus performance this summer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

Nobody is calling for the brakes to be put on Special Ed and the Shortbus.

But the Suffolk School Board is asking the city to exercise caution when it selects future bands to perform at the Constant’s Wharf Marina and Park.

The seven-piece bluegrass band from Richmond is scheduled to perform at the new downtown park July 29 as part of the city’s TGIF concert series.

Email newsletter signup

The band is one of several selected by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to appear at the summer programs.

On Thursday, several board members indicated they consider the band’s name an insult to the more than 1,700 special education students enrolled in Suffolk Public Schools.

&uot;I find it offensive because we have special needs students in our schools,&uot; said board member Sharon Harris, adding that several high school students pointed out the name to her.

&uot;It is degrading.&uot;

Board member William Hill echoed similar thoughts, and said officials should be more sensitive in future planning.

&uot;Maybe the general public is not aware of the labels that come with names,&uot; he said.

&uot;We need to be sensitive to our students with disabilities.&uot;

Superintendent Dr. Milton R. Liverman said that he would be penning a letter to city officials to make them aware that school leaders find the band’s name offensive to the city’s special education students.

Melanie Scoggins, recreation specialist with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, did not return phone calls.