A judge upheld Volusia County Schools over a complaint filed by Ormond Beach parents claiming the district and Seabreeze High School, wrongfully excluding their son with Down syndrome and denying him electives.
The final order determined that the school district did not violate Lance Avery’s individualized education program for students with disabilities or retaliate against him. But Avery’s mother, Anni Suadi, says the fight isn’t over yet.
“It’s really unfair. It’s just a big lie. They have to realize this,” Suadi said of the alleged exclusion of her son and other disabled students from school. “I’m not going to quit.”
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Parent requested schedule and elective resumed
Twenty-two-year-old Avery is a transitional student because he completed his high school degree requirements but deferred his diploma to continue preparing for a job and independent life. As a transitional student last year, Avery participated in multiple electives, including choir, keyboards, and basketball.
Suadi said Avery’s electives were removed without notice at the beginning of the school year at Seabreeze, leaving him in a more restrictive environment. caused
“There are no parental rights,” Suadi said. “We are supposed to have an IEP meeting to see in detail what the schedule is going to be. Come on, they change everything as if we hadn’t seen each other for three hours and they make decisions without a parent. Where are my parent’s rights on that?”
Suadi filed a due process complaint through a Florida administrative hearing in October. The school district, identified as the Volusia County Board of Education, was represented by attorney Barbara Myrick. A hearing was held for her in early December, and an order was issued by her administrative law judge, Brittany Finkbeiner, on December 22.
Suadi has rescheduled Avery’s electives and on-campus work, compensatory time to make up for the four months Suadi pulled him out of school to prevent a setback in a “chaotic” environment. and requested the judge to rectify the document. According to the final order Suadi provided to his The News-Journal, the environment was all denied.
Read the original story:Ormond Beach Parents File Disability Discrimination Complaint Against Volusia County Schools
side with the school district on multiple issues
Four issues were considered in the complaint. The first was Suadi’s belief that the school district did not place Avery in the “least restrictive environment.”
Suadi wanted Avery to continue taking general education electives as she made new friends and became more verbal and confident. It was stressful to ride, so I wanted him to continue his on-campus vocational training to prepare him for the job he was in line for.
However, according to the final order, Avery should learn employment skills and communicate with non-disabled peers in community workplaces such as Publix, district officials testified.
The judge agreed that Avery was “mainstreamed” in general education to the fullest extent appropriate, and that the school district provided him with opportunities to learn vocational skills in the community and “integrate him into the workplace and into the larger society.” It has increased his future ability to be able to do it.” A community of people with disabilities. “
The school district made some schedule changes to further Avery’s goal of becoming an inventory clerk, but Suadi says this isn’t right because the job had previously been ruled out.
Regarding the second question about school districts ticking off the IEP’s 13 behavioral factors to justify Avery’s placement, Suadi says that she believes Avery does not apply to emotional regulation and disruptive behavior. I suggested having a modified IEP meeting to discuss the difficulties, etc. It was added by mistake without a meeting and should be fixed without a meeting, Suadi said. Suadi and her school district disagreed over whether she gave her a copy of her IEP, but she said no witnesses testified that Avery had behavioral problems.
According to the 430-page transcript of the hearing provided by Suadi, district officials testified that factors were scored based on reports from the vocational rehabilitation company and conversations with Suadi to consider placement. However, Suadi said he should not have used the report because he requested that his services with the company be terminated before the report was completed, and evaluations with new vendors had been completed.
In the third issue, the judge stated that Avery’s IEP had been enrolled in electives at the time of drafting, but continued enrollment in electives was a priority, as the schedule changed annually. It was judged that it did not state that is common.
Although Suadi believes that as the IEP explains that Avery has multiple electives, it is clearly important to his social and emotional development and should be respected. , the judge ruled that the IEP was reasonable and did not infringe Avery’s access to a “free and adequate public education.” “For students with disabilities.
In the final issue, Suadi believed that removing her son from electives was retaliation for defending other students with disabilities, but the judge found evidence of unlawful retaliation. did not.
Suadi had previously defended other students, but school district staff told the judge they had no recollection of doing so before this year.
Parents say they continue to object to the treatment of their students
In a final order, the judge admitted that one witness, an Americans with Disabilities Act compliance officer, gave “extremely insensitive” testimony. People much younger than him use him as playthings, toys and pets. “
“Children are mentors,” Suadi said, objecting. “Lance, he grew up social, independent, communicated, obeyed, worked, just like all the other kids….he made friends. I don’t play with him like he’s a toy.”
Suadi intends to appeal the final order in the lawsuit and has been in contact with the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Orlando, Florida regarding raising her complaint. She also filed a report with the Daytona Beach Police Department about the alleged falsification of Avery’s records.
Shirley Rand, the parent of another student with Down syndrome, said her son, Isaac Morden, was also deprived of electives multiple times. Although he said more preparation was needed for vocational training, Lund said they had been taken away again this semester and were considering due process appeals if the matter was not resolved. I’m here.
News-Journal contacted the school district on Dec. 15 to seek clarification, but it was not provided before the district’s winter break begins Dec. 17. It will be released, but will be out of the office until January 2nd, after this article is published.
Please contact reporter Daniel Johnson (email@example.com).