Lexington, SC (WLTX) - Lexington School District One has less than 90 days to appeal a court's decision to pay tuition reimbursement for a student who had to leave the district to get an education.
Janet Frazier says her son Derek was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome which is a form of Autism. Frazier says Lexington One couldn't provide a program for her son, so she found a school in Michigan that helped her son advance two grade levels in less than a year.
Now, a court has ruled that Lexington One schools must pay the family nearly $55,000 in tuition costs for the Michigan school.
"He would shut down, withdraw, become nonresponsive and curl up in the fetal position," Janet said. Janet and Russell Frazier say their son had attention deficit disorder, but his characteristics showed something more.
"I had to fight to get him into special education, and at that time, he was diagnosed as ADD. And in 2004, I got the diagnosis that my son had Asperger's Syndrome," Janet said. The task was to prove the diagnosis to Lexington One, Frazier said.
"The diagnosis was dismissed by education officials and he basically continued resource classes. He was just floundered through middle school and passed along, and by the time he got through high school, he was functioning at the 5th grade level for math," she added. Janet noticed the difference in months at her son's Michigan school.
"After about eight months, they retested him and he increased two grade levels in every area tested," she added.
Meanwhile, she filed a due process hearing against Lexington One.
"The local hearing officer ruled in favor of the school district and I appealed that decision. We just got the state level review officers ruling and he overturned part of the local offices ruling and awarded me tuition reimbursement for the private residential school in Michigan," Janet said.
"We really feel like the victory is for the other children in the state, so the districts will change the way they treat these children," Russell added.
"Derrick is now back at a private school here in Columbia and is doing great. He gets up and drives himself to school. He's more responsible for his own work and has a chance at a future now," she said.
Lexington One Superintendent Dr. Karen Woodward says, "We strongly disagree with this decision. We believe that Lexington School District one has made available an appropriate special education program and related services to this student, as the district makes available to all disabled students residing in the district," Woodward said.
Lexington One has until July 13th to appeal and district lawyers say they're reviewing their options.