It's Just Wrong

The Douglas County School District doesn’t feel it’s important to pay the handicapped aides and sign language interpreters enough money to live off of. You always hear about teachers not making enough money for what they do, but for the aides it’s even worse. The sad amount of money for the hard work they do isn’t enough to pay rent or bills. Most of the handicapped aides and interpreters can only afford to keep their jobs because they have a second income, either from a spouse or a second job. The School District just hired a new interpreter, a single mother. She was forced to back out as soon as they told her the small amount of money she’d be making per year. I don’t know exact numbers, but taken as a yearly salary it’s awfully close to minimum wage.

There is a handicapped aide who has recently divorced and has to frantically find another job to support herself and her children. She is looking for a better-paying job, and the rumors are that if she leaves she wouldn’t be replaced, leaving the Special Education department short-handed. There’s a hard-of-hearing child without an interpreter simply because people cannot afford to work for the school district. It’s true that the aides and interpreters don’t have a Master’s degree in teaching, but they work just as hard. The schools are extremely understaffed and there are dozens and dozens of kids that need extra help. The school district views these people as non important. I’d like to see some of the school administrators come down to the bottom and do these jobs for a week. When someone tried to take a stand for more money, the district shot that person down without even giving a reason, just a simple “no”.

Trying to talk to anyone at the district office is pointless and they are extremely rude to top it off. Like they are saying, “Who the hell are you?” It’s just sad that the school district cannot say “Wait a second. These are human beings who have to live too. They do a job each and every day that most people wouldn’t do and yet we treat them like crap.” These people are such an important part of each and every day at school. Teachers would have chaos in the classroom with the ADD, ADHD and autistic children running amok. The deaf and hard of hearing kids would be lost in space without a clear clue about what they need to do. The school would be chaos without the aides to reign it in.

There is no point, except out of the goodness and kindness of their own hearts, to have these jobs. It for sure doesn’t pay off financially. There is little reason for these good people to do what they do, and then to be treated as nobodies by the district…It’s just wrong! Something needs to be done – now! The Douglas County School District sure isn’t going to do anything. And I’m sure Douglas isn’t alone, I’m sure all school districts are the same – this change needs to happen all over the US! We need to care about our special education children too.


  1. Yes, school districts out in sunny California where I am are even worse. The local one here doesn’t even have a special education department. They are instead sent to a school that houses some 300 students with a total of 6 staff.

    And their pay is awful, too…

  2. I worked with special needs as an aide for 9 years. The pay didn’t keep me there it was the pride of seeing how far the kids grew in a year. That was the joy of the job. Eventually though, you’re right…. no insurance for part-timers or paid holidays eventually had me looking for another job.

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