Ashton Marra Published

Schools for Deaf and Blind Workers Want Change in New Hiring Policy


The state Board of Education heard from child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Wednesday morning about an upcoming change in their job requirements. The board decided in March those workers will now be required to obtain an associates degree.

The 35 workers who currently hold positions at the Romney schools have until 2018 to obtain a degree, but there’s no guarantee even then that they will keep their jobs.

Child care workers and parents of children that attend the schools told board members at their Charleston meeting they feel the new requirements are unnecessary.

“I don’t think that I need an education to be a mother,” Susie Fields told the board. She’s been working at the schools for more than 30 years.

“I have proved that I’m a mother and that I am a good mother.”

Listen to Susie Fields' emotional testimony before the state Board of Education.

Parent Lucy Kimble said the child care workers are there to teach the children life skills, like how to cook and clean for themselves, not guiding their education.

The school’s Superintendent Lynn Boyer said there have been some changes to the new hiring policy after negotiating with the workers and the West Virginia Education Association.

Previous work experience and whether or not a candidate has started taking classes for the degree, she said, will be given strong consideration moving forward.

Boyer added, however, that both she and the WVEA understand the board is trying to improve the quality of the workforce by requiring the degree. She added she has visited similar schools in other states that have even higher standards for these types of positions.