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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in the last month, a family has filed a civil rights complaint against New Hanover County Schools.

New Hanover County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Holliday says complaints filed with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right (OCR) are fairly routine for school districts. He says NHCS receives five or six each year. He says what’s not routine is how the two most recent have been handled in the media. Dr. Holliday says the school district never sees OCR complaints. Instead, he says OCR usually sends a letter alerting the district to the nature of the complaint and often asking for data. Holliday says OCR then handles the investigation and follow up.

According to the group NC Fear Free Education, the family of a child enrolled in the school district filed a 98-page complaint yesterday with OCR. The complaint, the group says, chronicles specific incidents of discrimination listing times, dates and witnesses to the events.

“The reason we filed this Office of Civil Rights complaint is because our child is entitled to, under federal law, a free and appropriate public education just like non-disabled peers,” a parent of the child, who wishes to remain anonymous, said in a statement. “This means that our child is entitled to participate with non-disabled peers without being excluded from school functions, field trips and curriculum.”

According to part of the complaint released by NC Fear Free Education, the family says the boy was discriminated against for various reasons, including allegations that teachers did not follow his individualized education plan, accommodate his needs by using assistive technologies, not providing homework, excluding him from a field trip and even making fun of him.

Dr. Holliday said because the district has not received any information on the complaint and because of privacy laws, the school district cannot comment on this specific complaint.

Comment on this Story

  • Speaking Out Knowing the parent & the child

    Specifically A: the child is not retarded. He has autism, B. He is Not a behavior problem either. He is a loving boy. C. The reason the boys parents filed this complaint was because the school who, by all accounts had an autism program @ roland Grise did not include this child in specific events. These events include but are not limited to: A teacher decideds it is not necessary to send a science & social studies book home becasue they have “decided” what the kid could learn even though @ previous school & current school he is fully functioning inside of the classroom in the general ed curriculam and yes that includes a book! He may need assistive technologies to access other parts, but is able to do the work just like your “typical” kid. This child IS NOT a “behavior” problem in school so let us take that off of the table right up front. Another thing was this child was not given the same oppritiunites to participate in Feild Trips, excluded fro sceince fair & a culture project just becasue the staff was either too lazy to have him do so, or because they just didn’t care either way ..it still is wrong

    Put yourself in the childs place..lets say your “normal” child came home and said the teacher will not let me go on a feild trip, or have a book, or what have you…wouldn’t you be mad too? after all this is what this family has been saying, and this child deserves an education…

    whoever said that these children are always a disruption & shouldnt be in school…let me say knowing autism and knowing this child..behavior is not an issue…I don’t know what TV shows you have been watching, but not all kids who have autism are “retarded”, a disruption, or a “behavior problem” these statements leave sterotypical behaviors to autisitc children.

    Many of us pass kids with autism on a daily baisis and you don’t know who they are becasue they act and seem just like your typical kid…

    Kudos to the family for filing this office of civil rights complaint..for those of you who don’t know…this is not a suit in court this is investigated by the federal government who ensure that schools who get funding for providing the services to the kids with a disibilty does so under the law. These parents are trying to make a change for their child & other children.

    Just FYI: Kids with disabilities are allowed to play football, and other extra curricular activites just like your “Normal” children…

    Just because these kids don’t think like you don’t make them retarded..it just makes them special..special enough to think out side of the box..after all many of the greats in life had disabilities & changed the world…do a google search for infulental people who have/had autism…you will be amazed..ignorance is the biggest disability I see here..one that has a cure….

  • Gris

    Many are suggesting that segregating disabled children to private schools would be preferable, but many things which seem as if they should work in theory do not work in practice. Private schools and segregated classrooms are statistically the most dangerous, even deadly for the disabled population according to the GAO and other reports of child injury and death due to institutional mistreatment. Private schools and classrooms are where most of the severe abuse takes place, most likely because 1) the number of silent witnesses among children, or 2) children whose testimony could be discredited due to serious diagnoses, and 3) the insular culture which forms in institutions that lack the “check and balance” of having the eyes of credible witnesses upon them.

    Many private schools form cultures unto themselves where ethical and humane boundaries gradually erode. Many sociological studies have been done on this issue and the findings are universal: without oversight and in an environment where authority conveys and justifies flexible ethics, the majority of people may quickly become capable of atrocity.

    Some private schools are very good but this is actually much rarer than it should be. Of the thousands of deaths of the disabled due to institutional abuse, the majority have occurred in private schools, segregated classrooms and institutions. The only answers to this are to federally ban certain procedures outright, maintain vigorous enforcement against abusive practices including a simple process of recourse for complaints, integrate children as policy unless medical conditions make this unhealthy for the child and put cameras in every school and on school transportation with cell phone access for parents. This way everyone is kept honest and both staff and students are protected from spurious allegations.

    Only in an environment of zero abuse would it even be possible to take data on the overall behavior profiles of the disabled child population. Abuse is so rampant in schools and so clearly capable of escalating behavior problems among children that there’s a chicken and egg issue in determining how much of a “problem” integrating disabled children really presents.

  • PITA Mom

    I am glad for you that you can afford to send your child to a private school. If we were able to send our child to a school for children with special needs, it would probably cost upwards of $40,000 per year. If the school in question wrote an Individual Education Plan for this child, they are supposed to follow it. If they are not, the parents have the right to challenge the school. I imagine that they have been working with the school for a long time to get this worked out long before they were forced to sue. I do not have an extra $40,000 per year to send my child to a school for special needs. but I do imagine that if the school puts its mind to it, they can make this child’s experience a good and meaningful one for him AND the other students as well.

  • ledzepp

    And where do you get Special Needs from this? (he is Disabled does not mean Special Needs, and a IEP is just to make some Accommodations for a Disabled person and it is Federal Mandated they receive an IEP if they wish to have one.

  • opinionman

    Heres what you should do. Pull him out of the public school system and place him in a more appropriate school setting. Expensive? Yes, but we all must make sacrifices for our children. To continue to send your child to a school were he is tormented by others is just cruel. And to justify it by saying “our child is entitled to, under federal law, a free and appropriate public education just like non-disabled peers” does not make it any better. The fact is that lots of little kids are mean to each other. From making fun of the fat kid or teasing the kid who smells funny..that has been going on since kids were invented. The best you can do is realize that your child is going to be a target for the many a-hole kids and try to protect him from that. Get him out of the public school system. Make the financial sacrifice. My child’s district school is terrible so we bit the bullet and sent him to a private school. It has made a lifestyle changing impact financially on our family but it is the right thing to do for our child. But maybe with all of our tax money you hope to receive in your bs settlement you will do that.

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