Admittance process continues for special needs student

By David Broyles

August 28, 2014

Millennium Charter Academy officials and a local parent who wants her daughter, a special needs student requiring a service animal, mainstreamed in the school, continue to work towards finalizing an Independent Educational Plan for the child following a Tuesday meeting at the school.

Rebecca Lovette, whose daughter Bridget, is a kindergarten student, wants her daughter to attend the school along with her two older sisters, who are already students at Millennium. She gathered materials and made her case to school officials about why she believes the school should allow Bridget to attend, and be in a classroom with other children.

Lovette said she and her daughter met with Headmaster Kirby McCrary and several other school officials and she gave permission for evaluations which will be used to make the decision. She said her case is also based on factors including Bridget being a high functioning, autistic child with an average IQ.

Lovette said McCrary and school asked for at least 24 hours to come up with possible solutions to provide a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for Bridget, who is currently being accompanied by her mother. Lovette said other options discussed included providing a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse but said she felt a CNA would be adequate to meet her her child’s medical concerns.

“We’re really looking for someone to supplement the dog alerting to a seizure,” said Lovette. “Bridget’s seizure medication is not needed every day.” She characterized the meeting as one where school officials appeared to be “trying to get on the same page.”

According to Lovette, initial concerns from the school included allegations by school officials that a teacher and fellow students were allergic to the service dog. Lovette reports Bridget’s service dog is a Great Pyrenees, which weighs 65 pounds and is fully grown. She said they keep the animal’s fur trimmed short because the breed is known to shed.

Lovette and McCrary agreed the federal law calls for an exceptional needs child’s IEP be the least restrictive environment for the one student involved. Despite contrary reports, and their refusing to comment on the case earlier in the week, Millennium Charter Academy officials now say they never refused admittance for a service animal to the school, sand said they no plans to segregate the incoming kindergarten student. Officials also said there had been no changes to the academy handbook concerning medications, despite Lovette’s allegations to the contrary.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on Twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.