School left without recycling

Students in SPED program left without learning opportunity


Kansas Gibler

Photo Illustration.

By Kansas Gibler

Recycling is piling up in classrooms and leaving students without educational opportunities after recycling bins were removed from campus.

Deffenbaugh Industries had been collecting school recycling for several years before last month when it pulled its services from Lawrence schools. The change came in anticipation of the city taking over all residential curbside recycling.

“Deffenbaugh got upset that they no longer had the residential areas and basically they picked up their toys and went home,” assistant principal Mike Norris said.

The solution for the lack of recycling is currently up in the air, but Norris is working on getting some sort of program back in place.

“Last time we talked, [the city was] trying to work on a plan to do at least school recycling if not corporate recycling, but that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

City communications manager Megan Gilliland confirmed plans are still being worked out. She said the city wants to address the needs of each school.

“We’re committed to providing recycling at the schools, so we’re working with the school district to make sure that that’s available,” Gilliland said.

Without the services that Deffenbaugh provided, most students with special needs are no longer able to make their rounds to collect recycling.

“We have special education programs where that was a part of their work experience, so they haven’t been able to do these jobs that they had, which has impacted the way we were teaching them certain skills,” Norris said.

Autism specialist Brandon Lytle has had to find other tasks for his students.

“We’ve been throwing some of the recycling in the trash because some of our students still need to do that as part of their daily schedule, but for some students we’ve just had to cut it out of our schedule,” Lytle said.

Because the recycling program was put on hold, SPED students no longer have the planned opportunity to visit students throughout the school.

“We’ve lost a pretty big program for our school and for our class specifically,” Lytle said.