Blind, visually impaired students in RI rally for new state funding

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Blind and visually impaired students rallied outside the House Chambers at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium with their families on Tuesday.

Rallygoers called for a permanent line item in the state budget to support services for blind students.

As Target 12 Investigator Steph Machado first reported last week, the Department of Education pulled a $684,000 federal grant from the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, arguing, legally, that the services must be put to bid.

“This decision impacts students like myself and students in this crowd today. You have the power to fix it, please use it,” Jackson Troxell said.

“I’m just very, very disappointed in RIDE and I think we’ve got to get to the bottom and I want names. I want names of people who are responsible for this because this is just an atrocity,” Rep. Julie Casimiro said.

Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green told 12 News, “the Education Department’s top priority is ensuring the service and support to students is not impacted.”

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi attended the rally and says he pledged to students and parents that he will address the issue, and kids should have no fear of losing their teachers.

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