The discussion of what it means for a state to provide a free education to all children — the difference between an education, and an education that fits the needs of each child — is playing out in Georgia (pages of comments at The Telegraph newspaper site).
In this case, local authorities arrested Betsy Loiacono, a military wife and the mother of a son diagnosed with autism, for violating Georgia compulsory attendance laws. Ms. Loiacono kept her son home on the orders of her son’s pediatrician who diagnosed the autism, as well as post traumatic stress disorder after a school-bus incident in which the boy was shaken by an adult. Ms. Loiacono requested homebound instruction for her son. The school told her to homeschool her son. She does not want to do that, and wants her son to receive therapy so that he can return to school.
Dispute with BOE heading to trial, 13 July 2007, The Telegraph, Macon, Georgia
The school system’s plan for the child called for a very quick integration back to school in a matter of three days, the attorney said. It also called for a paraprofessional to come to the home and work with the child.
The child’s doctor strenuously objected to this plan, Graham said. The mother offered an alternative, four- to six-week plan that would include home visits from behavioral scientists and special education teachers and a gradual reintroduction to school, Graham said.
Links to other sites are:
- Mother of Autistic Child Arrested for Failure to Comply With School Board, 23 May 2007, Associated Content .com
- Mother Prepares For Case Against School Board, Fox 24, Macon, Georgia (kudos to this station for getting “homebound instruction” correct)
- Young Mother Betsy Loiacono is Told By The State of Georgia to Bring Her Autistic Son To School, Or Else…, 16 July 2007, ParentAdvocates.org
- Compulsory Education Laws, 16 July 2007, Radical Georgia Moderate (note: the laws require compulsory attendance, not “compulsory education”)
posted by Valerie