This is a copy of the letter I sent to the editor:
I am a single mom of two boys ages 5 and 9. My 9 year old is Autistic and my 5 year old has ADHD. I also have two girls ages 11 and 13. My 13 year old has Aspergers.
My girls were not allowed to go on the #### Middle School summer school field trip today because they were often late and had one absent day due to me being very sick. Late has always been an issue in my family that I fight to overcome. However, this time it actually wasn’t our fault.
The boys are in the summer school program at #### Elem. School which is clear across town and we only gave us 15 min to get between schools. Maybe if I sped and ran red lights I might have made it every day on time but I won’t do that, it’s illegal and dangerous.
I even tried dropping the boys off early, I thought the school would allow them to be at least 15 min early but the doors didn’t actually open till about 5 min prior so that didn’t work either.
Apparently even if the girls had been on time everyday they still wouldn’t get to go on the field trip because of my sick day. So basically they are being punished because I was in a ton of pain and couldn’t get them to school. After all the summer school has a 100% attendance policy.
I talked to the ladies at the #### summer school office about this and they just kept reminding me they have a 100% attendance policy and there was nothing they could do. They said other students who were late had the same result of not being allowed to go on the field trip. I wonder how many of them were unfairly judged as well. I told the #### summer school office I wanted to talk to the school board and the lady gave me Billy Gosnell’s office number which I called and left a detailed message on. I looked him up on line and when I got home and it says he is Administrative Services -Summer School & Records.
It is too late to send my daughters on the field trip, but something still needs to be done about this. I want a promise that they will make the necessary changes for all children by next summer. I don’t want any more children punished for being sick or a parent being sick or because they refuse to break the law by speeding and running red lights to get their children from one school to another school clear across town. Missing a field trip may seem simple to an adult but it can really hurt a kid. It give them the feeling of being left out and unfairly punished.
This all happened after my high functioning Autistic son had to be taken out of summer school because they didn’t “have the staff” to deal with him. Apparently listening to simple hints and implementing them from his mom about how to work with autistic kids was just too overwhelming for them. No thought that what I have to say may help them in the future as well. There are a lot of ASD kids in the public schools, not just mine.
I hope the public schools here in Springfield will make the necessary changes so children may have a more positive summer school experience next year and thereafter.