State leaders, parents, advocates celebrate passing of Special Education Ombud Act

[anvplayer video=”5027930″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More help is on the way for many special education students and their families.

This week, parents, advocates, legislative leaders, and the governor came together to celebrate a bill that the governor signed last month.

The bill, which was passed unanimously, will create an ombudsman office to help public school students and their families navigate the special education system.

“Our vision is to have a regional director, staff basically certifying, training, supporting, fully supporting special education ombuds across the state of New Mexico,” said Alice Liu McCoy, with the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

One ombudsman will be assigned to every school district, but the hope is to eventually have one at every school.

“Our kids deserve it. It’s time,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during the virtual celebration.

“It is really hard," said Jennifer Sanchez, a parent. "We don’t even know where to start and most of the time, we find our way by accident. And so to be able to know and to be able to send others there to go and get them help—it’s going to be life changing.”

“I want to see our special education dollars go to actual classrooms, teachers and student support. And this bill is going to make that happen,” said Katie Stone, another parent.

The state said hiring has already begun for this new program.