Saturday, September 5, 2015

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume LXIV - The How Is That Even LEGAL Edition


Last week we discussed a private school's lack of simple accommodations for a pair of sisters in Texas.  This week, we shift to public education.  Given the irrefutable federal laws, this story is hard to even imagine.

Set in The Hamptons of New York, one lovely, affluent, seaside community seems to find itself at a loss as to how to educate a child with Down Syndrome.  The father of one young boy is suing the school district because they refuse to move his son on with his class from elementary school to the middle school.

According to the father, this school district has never had to educate a child with special needs.  Thus, the district provides no "program" for special ed students beyond elementary school.

Are You SERIOUS?!


The intention of the school district is to keep this student with Down Syndrome at the elementary school he attended while his peers and friends move on to middle school.  This begs the question of whether the district is truly providing a "Free and Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) under the IDEA 2004 law.  Any parent knows that the social piece of school is every bit as important as the academic piece.  Being separated from ones friends and peers hardly seems like a benefit to psycho-social health.

Ironically, this school district messed with the wrong family on this issue.  Dad is an attorney.  While a school board member has accused the father of repeat attempts to publicly bully the district, under federal education law, his concerns will have to be appropriately dealt with by the district.  The school board member may not like it, but until this district does its duty under the law, this father should be making noise on behalf of his son.

We like to believe we are such a sophisticated, evolved culture.  Yet, even in this age and time, we see situations like this one where a modern, established community behaves in an antiquated way.  Let's pray this situation makes even The Hamptons a better place for a child with special needs to receive an education.



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