ARIZONA HAS A RIGHT TO GO TO SCHOOL!
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Our 16 year old son, Arizona, has been denied attendance at school for almost 3 years, simply because he is Autistic and Barrington Public School Department (BPSD) in RI does not believe that he should attend Barrington High School. BPSD does not have an appropriate educational placement for Arizona, other than the high school and refuse to create a program for him. For the past 3 years, BPSD refused to provide Arizona with a teacher and aide while he has been at home.
Arizona was assaulted on his First Student School bus by his substitute school bus Caton, on October 7, 2013, while the other aide, Paula Souza, watched. The bus driver, James Miller, had blood on his hands. Arizona had broken blood vessels in his cheeks and injuries to his head and teeth. An eyewitness saw James Caton repeatedly punching Arizona in the head and face. The RI State Police and RI Attorney General's Office stated that they could not arrest James Caton, because he was 71 years old and would lose his pension; the children on the bus were autistic and could not speak; and the eye witness did not really see what she saw.
We requested alternate transportation, because the Rhode Island Department of Education and Barrington Public School Department (BPSD) permitted Mr. Caton to continue transporting students on the school bus. BPSD refused to provide Arizona alternate transportation.
Since we did not believe that it was safe to place Arizona back on the First Student School bus we requested that BPSD place Arizona at the local high school, Barrington Public High School or provide educational services at home, BPSD refused.
The educational placements suggested by the BPSD either have seclusion rooms or resemble babysitting dens. Arizona is very cognitively functioning and can speak simple sentences. The school department has repeatedly placed him with children who are more severe and cannot speak. God Bless them.
Arizona has a right to make friends play sports, learn math , reading, and writing, go to lunch, and take part in other activities. He hasn’t done any of these activities in 3 years. The Barrington Public School Department refuses to allow Arizona to attend the local high school or to provide him with any form of education.
Please sign our Petition to ensure Arizona’s Right to an Education by asking that Arizona be provided with an appropriate education immediately and that his case of assault is reopened by the RI State Police and RI Attorney General's Office.
This Petition will be sent to:
RI Governor Gina Raimondo
RI State Representative James McLaughlin
RI State Representative John Lombardi
Michael B. Messore, III (Barrington Public Schools Superintendent)
Susan Healey-Mills (Special Education Director in Barrington, RI)
Peter F. Kilmartin (RI Attorney General)
Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell (RI State Police)
US State Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
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