By Kimberly Davis

MERCER COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — Parents, teachers and administrators clashed during a heated meeting on the reopening of schools in Mercer County. As CBS3’s Kimberly Davis reports, students with special needs were caught in the middle.

“Why haven’t parents, teachers and staff been included in making decisions regarding in-person learning or been part of the process?” one person said.

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Thirty-one special needs teachers and teachers’ aides will soon be without a job come April. But now parents in the Mercer County Special Services School District are up in arms that the district is still virtual when surrounding districts are open for in-person learning.

“The response to this pandemic from our superintendent and the board has been lethargic and appears so uncaring. While we see many teachers — no I’m not done,” one parent said.

“Your two minutes is up,” a member of the school board said.

“I’m not done,” the parent replied.

Tuesday, the school board held a virtual meeting where they heard from concerned parents and emotions ran high.

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“I can’t believe there’s a harder decision in the world to make than to open the (expletive) school. What are you waiting for? I mean this is the easiest decision of your life,” one parent said.

The school board says its Special Services School District is in a different circumstance which is why the district still remains virtual.

“We have medically fragile students when you’re comparing us to other school districts. They are not as medically fragile as ours,” one person said.

During the meeting, CBS3’s Kimberly Davis asked if there was a reopening plan, and if so why haven’t parents been notified. That question was never answered even after passing along her contact information.

The teachers’ union is calling for serious change.

“We, the members of Mercer County Special Services Education and Therapeutic Association, are undertaking a vote of no confidence, in Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Schneider,” one person said.

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The school district said in a statement Wednesday, “The hybrid reopening plan is the same as one posted on our website, however, due to concerns expressed at last night’s meeting, it is under review this week by the District Pandemic Team.”

Kimberly Davis