Parents frustrated by school's response to special needs child

NORWICH – “My child deserves an education, it is his legal right,” said Philip Bedford, just one of the many public speakers at Tuesday’s Norwich city school board meeting.

For roughly 45 minutes, teachers, family members and the parents of a child within the Norwich district took the stage to address the board. The child’s parents, Jean and Philip Bedford, spoke first about their son, who they adopted just a short time ago.

Jean expressed grief as she spoke, saying when she met the child who would later become her son, she was working with the bridging program at Stanford Gibson school. “The first day of bridging, he told me his mother didn’t love him,” said Jean.

In a short time, Jean learned what the child said had been the truth and for roughly a year, the child would be shuffled from home to home to anyone who would watch him, including his father, who is a registered sex offender.

Jean explains she was fond of the child and did what she could to see to it he was being cared for outside of the school environment. In time, Jean and her husband took the child on weekends for visitation. Jean described to the board the child’s living conditions before he came to live with her. “There were no books, no toys, nothing,” said Jean.

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