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Episode 4: Out at Sea

Episode 4: Out at Sea
NEXT

 
 
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A new report in Massachusetts found cases of serious abuse and neglect at a private special education school, illuminating a larger problem. Also this hour, we head to Block Island, Rhode Island, where the nation’s first offshore wind farm is about to get spinning. Plus, we learn about a time when Martha’s Vineyard went rogue. 

What’s Wrong With Special Ed?

A recent report from the Boston-based Disability Law Center found widespread abuse and neglect at a private special education school in Middleborough, a town in the southeast corner of Massachusetts. The report detailed verbal and emotional abuse by staff, inadequate supervision resulting in runaway students, medication errors, and more. 

Jaclyn Dinan's son has a complicated diagnosis of autism and a condition similar to bipolar disorder. In 2014, when he was 13, Dinan sent him to Chamberlain International School. Dinan, seen here with her boyfriend and her son, says her son was mistreated at the school. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Jaclyn Dinan’s son has a complicated diagnosis of autism and a condition similar to bipolar disorder. In 2014, when he was 13, Dinan sent him to Chamberlain International School. Dinan, seen here with her boyfriend and her son, says her son was mistreated at the school. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

disability-dataThere are worries that the problems seen at Chamberlain International School might be more widespread. WBUR and the investigative journalism unit “The Eye” have been investigating private special education schools that serve some of the most vulnerable students in Massachusetts. For parents, figuring out which of these schools is the right fit for their child can be a complicated maze, even as the demand for special education grows. WBUR reporter Shannon Dooling joins us this hour.

Links for more information:

“Report Finds Neglect And Abuse At Mass. Special Education School” – Shannon Dooling, WBUR

“‘There Is No Yelp’ : Why Parents Struggle With The State’s Special Ed System” – Shannon Dooling, WBUR

“Runaways, findings of neglect and abuse cast shadow at Chamberlain School” –  Jenifer McKim and Koby Levin, The Eye

The Sea Breeze Is More Than Refreshing

Construction is close to complete on the country’s first offshore wind farm, located about fifteen miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The five turbines are set to start turning later this year. They’re expected to provide most of the power for Block Island, a tourist destination and home to about 1,000 people. The Block Island Wind Farm is tiny by global standards, but it’s the culmination of many years of negotiations between wind power companies, governments, and advocacy groups.

Greg Cunningham, an attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, says the project represents just a taste of what’s possible for wind power generation in New England coastal waters.

Three of five turbines that make up the Block Island Wind Farm, in waters three miles off the coast of Block Island. (Ambar Espinoza/RIPR)

Three of five turbines that make up the Block Island Wind Farm, in waters three miles off the coast of Block Island. (Ambar Espinoza/RIPR)

Blades were attached to a fourth turbine last week. (Ambar Espinoza/RIPR)

Blades were attached to a fourth turbine last week. (Ambar Espinoza/RIPR)

The nacelles, the turbine electrical hubs, arrived in Newport earlier this summer on the Brave Tern vessel.

The nacelles — the turbine electrical hubs — arrived in Newport earlier this summer on the Brave Tern vessel.

They Could Take No More

In the winter of 1977, residents of Martha’s Vineyard were outraged over a bill in the Massachusetts state legislature that was going to strip them of their state representative. The island would be lumped into a larger Cape Cod district. Vineyard selectmen proposed a solution. A radical one. Secession (complete with an original song)! Producer Sally Helm has the story.

Former Martha's Vineyard secessionist John Alley

Former Martha’s Vineyard secessionist John Alley (Sally Helm/Transom Story Workshop)

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at WNPR.
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Andrea Muraskin
Executive Producer: Catie Talarski
Digital Content Manager/Editor: Heather Brandon
Contributors to this episode: Shannon Dooling, Ambar Espinoza, Sally Helm
Music: Todd Merrell, “The Sea Beneath Our Feet” by Puddle of Infinity

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