• Petitioned Dee Valdes

This petition was delivered to:

ESE Supervisor
Dee Valdes
HCSD Superintendent, Administration and Board
Hillsborough County School District
Woodrow Wilson Middle School Principal
Colleen Faucett
HCSD ESE Supervisor
Maryann Parks

Hillsborough County School District: Allow Henry to go to Wilson Middle School 200 yards from his home.

    1. Petition by

      Henry Miles

      Tampa, FL

  1.  
  2.   
November 2012

Victory

Henry Frost, a 13-year-old with autism, will be allowed to attend his neighborhood middle school after more than 6,500 people signed his petition. Henry wanted to attend the middle school located across the street from his house but the school district refused, saying he needed to take tests and prove he could walk up the school's stairs first. Henry saw this as discrimination and started a petition with his mom and now the school district has agreed to allow Henry to attend.

I have the same rights as other students. I want to go to school in my neighborhood, in my community. I believe that this is the law.

 

Henry is a 13 year old Autistic self-advocate who communicates using augmented and alternative communication.He is strong and resilient; he has had over 20 surgeries. So why should one of the biggest challenges he faces come from the very people that should be here to educate him? He wants an education from his neighborhood school, but the Hillsborough County School District (HCSD), which is the 8th largest school district in the nation, refuses to let him attend the school only 200 yards away from his home.

Despite his parents’ request (and offer to pay for an aide and forgo school-based therapy) and based upon disputed content of an IEP, HCSD has unilaterally predetermined that he should be placed in a segregated classroom in a different neighborhood and not receive the same education as his peers.

Henry was subjected to brazen intimidation at a recent IEP meeting in which the HCSD had 18 representatives (9 more than was stated on the Prior Written Notice), including the head of the Exceptional Student Services of HCSD, the Area 1 Supervisor of HCSD, and the principal of the school. During the IEP meeting, which was the very first time he had entered the school that he can see from his bedroom window—the school that his neighbors attend, Wilson Middle School—not one person gave him more than a cursory “hi” and “goodbye.” Not one person from Wilson or HCDS said, “Hey Henry, I hope this can work out. You seem like a great kid; any school would be lucky to have you”. Not one. 

HCSD has demanded that Henry demonstrate that he can manage the stairs and transition between classrooms in the same school that they have denied him access in the first place. They have demanded that he take tests before he is granted access to the school that no other child needs to take. They have said that he can join his peers in their classroom if he can “prove” that he should be there. No child’s access to a public education should be based on a test. No child should be required to prove their intelligence and competence every single day, but this is a reality for most non-speaking individuals, and it certainly is for Henry.

We support Henry’s right to be included with proper supports in his neighborhood school, Wilson Middle School.

It is within in the school district’s power to allow him to attend Wilson. There are many laws in place protecting such rights. Yet school districts use their taxpayer-funded resources to fight against the civil rights of the students that they are funded to educate. It is not acceptable to use such resources to skirt laws, abuse procedural delays, and intimidate and frustrate anyone who tries to assert their rights under the laws that protect them.

The right to be included and educated in one’s community and society is a civil right protected by federal laws like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it must not be denied by the Hillsborough County School District to any individual regardless of their perceived abilities and or disabilities.

Henry should be presumed competent and should have equal access to education in his own community.

Please stand with Henry and support his civil right to attend his neighborhood school, Wilson Middle School, with the supports that he and his school community need to achieve successful outcomes.

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Thank you .

      Henry Miles
      Petition Organiser

      I will go to Wilson. Your help made a difference. We can all make a difference every day. This is our victory together. Thank you HCSD .I am happy that I will be a student at Wilson. We will learn together. It is a new time.
      Henry

    2. Reached 6,000 signatures
    3. Reached 5,000 signatures
    4. Reached 4,000 signatures
    5. 2,650 signatures we need 5000 by Friday please share

      Henry Miles
      Petition Organiser

      Testing is over for now. Now we wait for an IEP meeting.

    6. Reached 2,500 signatures
    7. 2003 Signatures since last Friday

      Henry Miles
      Petition Organiser

      Thank you for signing. We have 2003 signatures !

    8. Reached 2,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Deidre Hammon RENO, NV
      • over 1 year ago

      A community that excludes even on of its members is no community at all.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • suzanne swearingen TAMPA, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      FAPE it is the law!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ireisha Anindya JAKARTA, INDONESIA
      • over 1 year ago

      Because it is his right. Why don't you sign this--that's the question.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Justine Owens OXNARD, CA
      • over 1 year ago

      If this child is supposed to be going to this neighborhood school due to demograghics, and he sees all of his friends going there, the fact that he is not allowed to go there, is both making him feel like a second class citizen and that this school district has given up on him. These children NEED to be integrated into regular class rooms. Give him a chance to succeed!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jenna Ricciardi CLIFTON, NJ
      • over 1 year ago

      Inclusive education is a right, not a privilege.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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