Mom Fights Back After School Excludes Special Needs Students

17 mentally disabled students from the Tooele County’s Community Learning Center aren’t appearing in this year’s yearbook.

17 mentally disabled students from the transitions program at Tooele County’s Community Learning Center aren’t appearing in this year’s high school yearbook, and one parent is not happy about it. “It’s kind of like they singled out the students who were in the transitions program and said, ‘We don’t want you in our yearbook,’” Leslee Bailey, mother of 21-year-old transitions student, Amber, told WTVR. The Community Learning Center is located in the same building as Blue Peak High School, and the transitions students were allowed in the yearbook in years previous. “They’ve been to school with these kids,” Bailey says. “How would you feel if it was your child?”

But is this purely a case of discriminating against the mentally disabled? The school district disagrees. “Expectations are different, the environment is different, and so that was part of the change as well,” says Mat Jackson, the Director of Special Education. Bailey highlighted other differences saying, “It bothers me because it seems they’ve gone back in time to where we’re not including them. We’re going to tuck them away and say they don't exist.”

The school does have a banquet to honor students in the transitions program for their accomplishments, but still has no plans for including them in the 2015 yearbook.


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