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Stevens Point superintendent apologizes for cleaning supplies gift to disabled student

STEVENS POINT, WI (WTAQ) - The Stevens Point school superintendent has apologized, after a teacher gave a graduation gift of cleaning supplies to a student and reportedly told her she'll be "scrubbing toilets."  

Alyssa Alvarado's family was offended by a gift bag from Sue Felder, a teacher in the Point high school Life Skills Center. It helps students with cognitive disabilities learn things like cooking, cleaning, and housekeeping.  

Alyssa's mother, Lisa Kingsbury, told WSAU Radio in Wausau she was offended by some of the items in the teacher's gift bag -- like a toilet bowl brush and cleanser. She asked Alyssa why she was given those things, and she quoted the teacher as saying she'd be scrubbing toilets.

Superintendent Attila Wedinger said Felder gave items she thought her graduates could use -- and she had no intent to demean the students.  

A counselor passed that message on to Kingsbury -- but she didn't buy it, and she thought the teacher should be terminated.

Wedinger said a firing would be inappropriate. In the future, the superintendent said gifts to Life Skills students will be "appropriate for graduation" and won't be like those Felder gave out.  

The incident comes more than a month after Stevens Point school transportation manager John Shepard sent a memo to bus drivers calling special needs students "window lickers."  

Wedinger says the incidents are not related -- and she insists there is not a "culture issue" in her district.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)