Mother’s fight to resolve son’s schooling nearly over

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 2, 2003

Joe Bates is thriving in his temporary learning environment, but he and his mother Carolyn are still hoping to get him back into a permanent special education program..

Joe, an energetic 7th grader, has not been to school for most of this year. He suffers from a litany of problems: learning disabilities, severe asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and clinical depression.

Joe qualified to receive special education services in 1999, but he was eventually removed from the program. Soon his grades began to drop and he was taken out of school. His parents have been fighting ever since to make sure their son gets a proper education.

In an effort to finally resolve the situation, Carolyn recently submitted a resolution to the Selma City School Board.

Carolyn’s goal seems simple enough: to reach at least one teacher who’ll stand up and disagree with the school system’s decision to continue denying her son special education services.

Being unable to attend school has left Joe hurt and disillusioned.

In the meantime, the mother and son have found a temporary solution through the McRae Learning Center, a K-6 elementary school that’s providing Joe with one-on-one teaching at his current grade level.

The new school allows Joe to work at his own pace in subjects like algebra, history, science, reading and language arts. His teacher also permits Joe to come to school for half days when he’s feeling sick and allows him to take a break whenever he needs a rest.

After school &045;&045; from 3-5:30 p.m. &045;&045; Joe receives more tutoring from volunteers at the Selma Disabilities Advocacy Program, the extra learning time frequently necessary for children with ADD.

Carolyn’s certain her son will eventually receive special education services more regularly, and despite the long ordeal still has faith in the Selma City School System, though she believes more teachers are needed for children with disabilities.