Parents are demanding change after special needs students at a California school district were instructed to sift through garbage. The program's goal? To find recyclables in exchange for money. Jurupa Unified School District claims it teaches children life skills they’ll need later in life, but some parents are outraged.

This morning on Fox and Friends, the mother of a boy with autism spoke out against the curriculum.

Carmen Wells said her son came home from school upset after he was given gloves and told to sort through garbage. She said only special needs students were given this task.

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Superintendent Elliot Duchon said in a statement, “Recycling is also part of a curriculum sequence of the functional skills class. In this class, students collect recyclable materials. With the proceeds from the materials, teachers create mock bank accounts for students and in turn, students learn to keep a ledger, write checks and develop a budget. … Everyone who has worked with the program and was aware of the program, ourselves included, believed it was educational and positive for all of our students.”

Wells told Peter Johnson Jr., “We never consented to this. We were never aware this program existed,”

She also noted that this type of program actually separates students with special needs from their peers and makes them feel embarrassed. Additionally, there’s a health risk for those children with compromised immune systems.

The district has since apologized and suspended the program while it’s being reviewed.

Wells has this message for administrators: “I want people to know that our special needs children deserve dignity and respect. This is not the way that we treat them. This is not the way that we include them into the schools.”  

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