Rankin Co. parents speak up for autistic children - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Rankin Co. parents speak up for autistic children

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RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Rankin County parents are speaking up for their children who can't speak for themselves.

Starting next school year, severely autistic children will be among other students with higher functioning degrees of autism.

Parents are concerned their children won't receive the services they need.  

"Everything you just stood up there and told us was a lie so shame on you," said Brandy Duncan, the parent of an autistic student at Oakdale Elementary.

These parents spoke their minds during Wednesday's Rankin County School Board meeting.

"What we want is for an appropriate plan to be in place for these children with severe autism," said Duncan.

Right now autistic students in Rankin County who need the most attention attend Oakdale Elementary School in a clinical setting.

Parents say they found out last week that their children are required to attend the school in their home district.

Now, they want to see a specific plan in place detailing who will provide services to their children. 

Asst. Superintendent Richard Morrison says the services will remain the same. 

"The teachers we've been using there with those in the clinical environment will go out to those home schools they're still going to receive the services."

Rankin County District officials say they've restructured and enhanced the district's autism program to accommodate the more than 150 students in the district with all forms of autism.

These parents believe not having input in the decision is a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004.

That's not the only potential violation they see.

"It was told to us straight up that it is a budgetary primarily budgetary concern and basically that's against the law," said Dr. Tracy Connelly, another parent. 

Morrison says the budget wasn't a primary concern.

"We could not expand the program at Oakdale there were limits there so you look at your budget and say how can we serve all the students."

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