In an increasingly bizarre situation a school district in Texas is “seeking to bankrupt” a now-homeschooling family. Writing for the Houston, Texas FOX News channel, reporter Greg Groogan explains the case in an article he titled School District Seeks to Bankrupt Disabled Student’s Family:
In May, 2007, after learning that their son Chuka was not receiving the help he needed from the local school, Kenneth and Neka Chibuogwu filed a procedure called “due process” where a sort of education judge listens to all the evidence and decides the issue. But instead of seeking compromise, the school district launched a full-blown legal counterattack against the family:
“These people had been railroaded, these people had been maligned,” says special education advocate Jimmy Kilpatrick who represented Chuka and his parents.
Drained and discouraged, Kenneth and Eka dropped their due process case and Chuka never returned to class.
The conflict could have ended there, but Alief Superintendent Louis Stoerner and then board president Sarah Winkler had other plans.
The District sued the economically distressed parents of a special needs child for every penny of the district’s legal expenses, an amount, at the time approaching $170,000 dollars and now estimated at close to a quarter million.
“What I feel is that they are trying to bully me for asking for a chance for my son¿s life,” says Kenneth.
Reporter Groogan continues:
Those who represent special needs families suspect a larger more sinister scheme.
“What they are trying to do is send a chill down parent’s spine about advocating for their children,” says Louis Geigerman, president of the Texas Organization of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates.
“Lets set some examples, lets hang a few of them at high noon right out here in the middle of the town square and show you what we do to people who want to advocate for their children,” adds Kilpatrick.
“If I don’t fight them, you know they are going to do it to other parents,” says Kenneth Chibuogwu.
Read the entire article at the link above. Discussion of the article is taking place on the HEM Networking discussion list:
“I suspect too, that that school district doesn’t care if they win or lose (they’ve lost so far) that lawsuit. They are sending a message with the use of local, Texas and federal tax monies. LOTS of money.” ~Susan Ryan