Tennssee parents challenge move of special education student from Normal Park Museum Magnet School

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, October 31, 2013

A state judge will have to determine whether to believe a student's parents or his teachers as testimony continues in the special education due process case of 10-year-old Luka Hyde, who up until last year attended Normal Park Museum Magnet School.

Administrative law judge Marion Wall heard two very different narratives unfold Tuesday, when Deborah Hyde, Luka's mother, started to make her case against the school system. At issue is school officials' proposal last year to move her son from a general education class at Normal Park to a comprehensive development classroom, or CDC, a separate special education classroom for students with more intense needs at Red Bank Elementary.

Educators said Luka, who has Down syndrome, had "hit a wall" academically at Normal Park, where he received an array of supports and services because of his disability. But the family disagreed with the decision and instead moved their son to The Montessori School. Because they believe the school was unwilling to provide a federally mandated appropriate education, the family is asking the school system to reimburse their tuition costs. Testimony in the case was open to the public as the family has waived its privacy rights. The hearing is expected to last until Thursday at the school system's central office.

Hyde, who is arguing the case without an attorney, disagreed with the school's characterization of her son's progress.

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