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School Says No To Walker For Girl With Disability


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After two years using a walker, a Texas school district is ordering a 5-year-old girl with cerebral palsy back into her wheelchair. Now, the girl’s mother is fighting back.

Kristi Roberts says she was stunned when officials from the New Caney Independent School District said her daughter LaKay could no longer use her walker at school. Instead, educators at the district want the girl to use a wheelchair, something Roberts says would reverse years of progress the girl has made.

The reason: school officials said they became worried about the girl’s safety using the walker after she fell in the parking lot while she was with her mother.

Roberts isn’t taking the news lying down, however. She captured a conversation with a school official on tape and uploaded the recording to YouTube where it has racked up more than 40,000 views. During the encounter, the school official insists that it’s not safe for LaKay to use the walker and urges Roberts to go to court if she feels otherwise.

“If she can walk now, please let her walk,” Roberts told NBC News. “Don’t strap her in a wheelchair. We’ve worked so hard. She has worked so hard.” To read more click here.

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Comments (21 Responses)

  1. Lori Ruscitti says:

    Sadly, this is how the state of Texas operates when it comes to special needs children. There is a reason people flee this state if it is possible. I have had two attorney’s tell me to leave with my specail needs child (and I am trying). The only state worse than TX is Mississippi. I hope this mother fights back hard!!They should not be able to tell her how her child should get around.

  2. Lanie says:

    Just one more “official” who thinks they know what’s better for our children than we do. How did we get to this place where there are more against us than helping us? It’s under the guise of helping or being “for us” but its just another attempt to keep us behind.

  3. annie says:

    That is insane! The law clearly states that the school is required to provide her daughter with the least restrictive learning environment possible. Well that would clearly cover mobility, and her daughter’s right to walk if she has the ability. It’s not just good for her daughter to walk, it’s in all of society’s best interests that her daughter become as independent as possible! It’s absurd to put a child in a wheelchair who doesn’t need it. If a typically developing kid fell down in the parking lot would they tell their parents they have to be in a wheelchair? insanity!

  4. Noreen Lingham RN says:

    i dont know how to do it but someone should turn this into a petition on!!!!!! the more attention shining on this injustice the better!!!!!!

  5. BClark says:

    When suits for millions can be filed for spilt coffee and walking into well-marked glass doors and are awarded millions of $ by our mentally unstable and incompetent judges, the school is doing what’s in IT’s best interest. This society is allowing everyone who is low enough in character to claim to be a victim and to be given outrageous awards for not being responsible for their own actions and this in turn is causing most everyone else to become selfish and to disregard the best interests of others. The pat answer is “Our legal system isn’t perfect”. Things are supposed to improve with time and wisdom, but our criminal legal system has become worse and has become a legal system for the criminally minded. It has become worse than it was just a few decades ago, not better.
    ‘Legally’ the school is protecting itself, morally it is destroying the progress made by one person. Ask most any judge and they will claim that the welfare of many outweigh the welfare of few. In their minds and according to the mess we have today, they are totally right. We aren’t becoming a socialist republic, we are one … Become selfish everyone, that’s what’s in the state’s best interest.
    Get in line komrad, the state is all that there can be.

  6. Jim Halpin says:

    Stories like this and the ones about “fight night” at the institutions down there make me feel that maybe the great state of Texas should just cecede and start their own country or become part of Mexico

  7. Zach Wood says:

    this is idiotic its like if someone took my wheelchair if I wrecked it and somebody told me its too dangerous to use my chair and I need to get up and start walking everywhere! School districts like to put students with disabilities in positions where it’s convenient for them and not the student!

  8. Ann Britt says:

    I called the school district at the number listed at the end of the video and expressed that I am appalled at how this situation has been handled so far and urged them to rethink their position. This mother is encouraging her child to make the most of her abilities which is just what she should be doing. Kudos to her mother. I do not live in Texas and am fortunate that my child’s school district is supportive of making the most of my daughter’s abilities.

  9. Darla says:

    From what I have read the school has violated the child’s rights by making decisions without calling an IEP meeting in which the mother is a part of the team making the decisions. Also, they skipped a step (more then one in different areas) in that if safety is really their concern after just this one fall they could have adapted and given the child a one-on-one aide instead of going straight to the wheelchair option. I have lived in Texas near the amarillo area. Both of my sons have disabilities. When my youngest was tested the school claimed that he was at the same level as his older brother. Anyone who had been with them for any length of time could tell that was not true. Before the school year started we moved to another state and I hand-carried the school records and was able to read the test and results. The school tester had committed what I consider fraud. My son did not answer a single one of the questions on any portion of the test. It was not that he did not know what they wanted or the answers-he just did not want to take the test. No valid test. The tester just made-up what she wanted to. I did not give the records for my youngest son to the school where we moved and he started in the regular kindergarten then was tested. He did have disabilities but he was placed in an entirely different program then his brother. There are some good educators out there but you cannot trust that the ones you meet are the good ones and not those who are lazy or unconcerned about teaching children with disabilities to lead a good and productive life.

  10. hdemic says:

    What are disability advacates? I still haven’t got a answer.
    mom of disabled child in Mi.

  11. Wes Harley says:

    I’m in complete “shock” that a public school could determine the mobility aide that this child is to use while at school. The parents and their child have worked for years to achieve the goal of transitioning from a wheelchair to a walker for her freedom of movement. Physically and Mentally challenged individuals must not only conquer structural barriers but also educate the “educators” that subsists in our public schools.

  12. Thomas Charles Wood says:

    This is nuts! When I was in school, there was another kid with moderate spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, & he fell over on the playground lots of times, but the teachers & administrators used common sense & let this kid, be a kid & falling & getting back up is “part of life”.
    learning to move around is part of being a kid, & these self-appointed goodie two shoes should “back off”.
    Anyway, I am Autistic & I have Cerebral Palsy.

  13. annie says:

    a disability advocate is pretty much exactly that. You could google search in your area to see what groups might currently exist there. For example, I live in Boulder Colorado, and we have something called the ACL, Association for Community Living. This free service provides guidance and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities in my community. Like this year my son’s school wouldn’t put a wheelchair ramp in so that he could go to recess with the rest of his class. The playground was only accessible by stairs. Unsure of my legal rights and how to approach it, I contacted the ACL and they attended a meeting between me and my son’s school, where they could advocate for me by citing the law where applicable, and just by facilitating communication within the meeting. So an advocate for this child would be a great idea! They often attend IEP meetings as well and help parents get the services their children need. A good disability advocate would be well versed in the ADA.

  14. hdemic says:

    Dear Annie,
    I am being alittle sarcastic. Every state has what they call disability advacates and they are grouped in to one big group. You have organizations called Disability advacate. ARC, CP. school inclusion, and the list goes on and on even at state and federal levels. Its a maze of maze work. Some in some states are very good and grow teeth and work to get parents together. not to fight but the more combined you are the more the schools are apt to compromise just as we learn to do. Unfortu there are so many organizations out there that just want to give you a pamplet about the other organization that involvement has become minimal. Schools do not care about any laws or IEP or what not. They do not know how to make things safe so they just say no. Now I know Texas has a bunch of organizations just like every other state. I also know culture in every state has alot to do with everything. My point is WHERE ARE THEY. If you call Washington (like ARC of US)they just reroute you to your states organization. This should be simple to fix. Make it safe for the kid in the schools eye and keep the kid up and moving. Of course our schools don’t even want kids to ride thier bikes to school for fear of liability or the bike getting stolen. Ive said it before and I will say it again. The schools just don’t want to do it. That’ why I keep asking What are Disability advacates? Where are they for these simple little fix it things.
    mom of disabled child in Michigan
    PS I hand a group called “every one together” sponsered by CP that wanted to charge me $500.0 per hour to represent me in the school that my daughter was to go to. The rep wasn’t a lawyer or had any kind of degree or anything. I called CP of Mich and asked them whats up. The didn’t know that money was being asked for. It was a grant. Now would I have given a stipend for gas and time on the side. Certainly. but it didnt work that way. Thats why my daughter lost out on school in this state. She doen’t go because they were so antagonistic constantly.

  15. annie says:

    Wow, I apologize for not seeing your sarcasm. I was just trying to be helpful and answer a question about potential services with a direct example of how advocates can work. They have been a huge help in getting my son with disabilities heard in a school district that would otherwise segregate or restrain him, and it’s never cost a dime. When I hear from people thinking to do advocacy professionally in my area, it seems silly to me because the ACL is free and so good at what they do. I know I couldn’t afford to pay for one…

  16. hdemic says:

    I apoligize back. I was trying to bring up the discussion of where are all the advacates. If this is an area like I live in than the advacates do not see any reason to intervene and that is driven by culture. Easter Seals in this area do not work with wheelchair kids period. ARC of West Mich -they were the ones that went to my daughters IEP. It was a mom that smiled sweetly and stated the aid is the one that does all the education not the teacher. Than looked at me and said I’m sure things will work out.I realized than that she had no idea of laws. UCP of Mich runs a website for buying and selling things. The school where my daughter was to attend (they kept trying to bounce her around) I have realized that the people who work there are nice but do not see any reason to do anything. they see no reason for progress or success. This is driven by culture. Thats probley why this mom needs a good lawyer because the culture there dictates there is no reason for this child to walk because in thier eyes they just don’t see a reason for it. The many many advacates and organizations are different in each area and some are strong and some just don’t get involved. And I know I’m going to get slammed for this but you have a mom (female) in the state of Texas with a dark skinned handicapped daughter. I’m the same situation except in Mich. It puts this kid at the bottom of the totem pole no matter which way you look at it no matter how cute she is. The schools don’t see a reason for success. They honestly just don’t understand or comprehend what the big deal is.Even the medical world doesn’t get how important it is for this girl to be using her legs now for at least transferring later on. and alot of it is driven by culture depending in which area you live in. Thats why I keep asking-Where are all the advacates that are funded by federal and state money.
    mom of handicapped child in Michigan

  17. Annee says:

    The schools are between a rock and a hard place. If the girl falls in school, does the mother sue? Every school system is struggling with finances especially in the current economy and lawsuits can be horrendous.
    I guess I might suggest that the mother or father of this child agree to attend school with her and be responsible for her safety. I suppose a legal promise to hold the school blameless if she is injured because of the walker is out of the question?

  18. says:

    There is no excuse for the school officials to treat the parent so rudely. HOWEVER, please note that the school had not yet received her doctor’s permission to make this change, and to act against the doctor’s existing orders would be to expose the school to unacceptable liability. The parent should have provided this before she asked the school to make the change. BOTH parties need to check their attitudes at the door and start working together for the good of the child.

  19. Judith says:

    While my legally blind son was a 5th grader in San Diego he used a cane to walk with his brother and sister back and forth to school, less than a quarter mile. A kid used to wrestle it away from him, and hit him with it. I walked with them when I could, this helped, but the schools solution was no more cane. I tried confronting the parent and it was like talking to a brick wall (drooling brick wall). I have never felt marginalized in my life. The school wouldn’t even treat this as a bully situation.

  20. hdemic says:

    To Judith.
    So sorry this happened. Again I am asking the question? Where ae all the Disabitily Advacates? Do they really exist. Where are you dear advacates? Can you make yourselves known?

  21. Donna May says:

    I am an adult with c.p. and I went to school on my own two legs, I didn’t need a walker till my mid 40’s. But if the reasoning is the child’s safety, the school is still wrong. It would hamper any progress the girl has been making in being as independent as she can be. With our without the walker, she is liable to fall and get hurt. The school is making no sense. But then again, this is Texas we are talking about and it is sad that they stay behind the 8-ball when it comes to issues like this.

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