Official Calls Special-Ed Kids “Crayon Eaters”: Report

The mother of a special needs child says that Gilmanton, NH Selectman Steve McWhinnie used the phrase “crayon-eaters” when referring to special needs children. McWhinnie has declined public content, asserting that his comments were made in private.

“My daughter is not a crayon eater,” angry mom tells town official

| Bea Lewis, Union Leader – A comment allegedly made by a New Hampshire town official during a phone conversation with a resident has spilled over into the political arena.

During an Aug. 27 selectmen’s meeting in Gilmanton, Lynn O’Connor asked the board to respond to her Aug. 10 letter in which she said Chairman Steve McWhinnie used the phrase “crayon-eaters,” when referring to special needs children.

“This was not a private conversation, this was about public policy,” she said, according to an audio recording of the board’s Aug. 27 meeting posted on the town’s website.

“It is unfair, it is unjust. You have no right to serve as a public official and disgrace children in this community,” she continued.

“That is what I’m asking the select board to do: To do their jobs, to respond to the public’s letters in an appropriate manner and take appropriate action because it is an outrage, an absolute outrage.”

O’Connor’s 19-year-old daughter has an individualized education plan (IEP), a document that ensures a child who has a disability receives specialized instruction and related services.

“This is my daughter … I assure you she is not a crayon-eater,” O’Connor said.

The conversation during which the remark was allegedly made came after O’Connor’s husband, Ron, posted some comments on the town’s Facebook page concerning unrelated local issues.

McWhinnie texted Ron O’Connor after reading the comments and asked him to call so they could speak over the phone.

It was during that conversation on June 24, that according to Ron O’Connor, McWhinnie, who serves on a subcommittee of the Gilmanton School Board studying high school options, allegedly said,

“We aren’t going to transport a crayon-eater to Manchester…” [Manchester, the state’s largest city, is located 45 minutes from Gilmanton. – Editor]

Read more at The Union Leader. Image: Crayons, U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Josef Cole; Selectmen Steve McWhinnie, Bea Lewis/Union Leader, Fair Use.