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On Sept. 21, in a back room of the Lancaster County Library, a scary thing happened. S.C. Rep. and S.C. Senate hopeful, Mick Mulvaney walked into a room of parents of special needs children. This was actually very brave of Mulvaney since he does not have a child with a disability and may have not had a clue as to what the joys, struggles and hopes of these parents were.
Mulvaney, however, is not unfamiliar with the issues that face parents of children with disabilities. He has been an open and understanding ear to those who are working toward improving the education of public students with disabilities in South Carolina.
This past April, he requested to attend one of the S.C. Department of Education’s Advisory Panel on the Education of Students with Disabilities meeting when he learned that several of his constituents were going to attend and have an opportunity to voice their concerns and present solutions.
He wanted to hear what they had to say and be a part of the solution. While the state department continues to brainstorm, Mulvaney is hands on. He has no problem with meeting those who have concerns and then divvy out realistic and practical advice on how to make things better for all children and especially children with disabilities.
He even went so far as to promise to give a call to a local superintendent to get a ball rolling for these folks.
The meeting was hosted by a group of parents who call themselves Parents Offering Parents Support (POPS.) POPS began in 2003 by a parent of a child with a disability, Bridgette Reeves. Reeves has an incredible story which rallied other parents with similar struggles. Now they meet every month at the library, where they receive information and support. They have had the opportunity to speakers such as Medicaid Executive Vivian Douglas and Protection and Advocacy’s Melissa Reitmeyer, among others.
In October they will host Tanya Inabinet of Pro Parents and the S.C. Department of Education Director of Exceptional Children Susan Durant will speak at the November meeting.
This meeting, filled with parents of children with disabilities who have weathered so many storms, could have been an intimidating experience for Mulvaney. Instead everyone was encouraged by his openness, honesty and willingness to help.
If you would like more infomation about POPS, call Reeves at (803) 273-9133.