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Don't deny our autistic daughter a chance to succeed in school

This petition had 61,412 supporters

Our autistic daughter worked hard to meet the requirements of her accelerated math program. Now, her school district has decided to kick her out of the program even though she has demonstrated success in the class.

Our daughter, Jocelynn, dreams of going to college. She has accepted every academic challenge that’s come her way, and there have been many. Jocelynn has autism and has to work harder than other kids to succeed. Every day she strives to be a great student, and I am so proud to see her embracing education and excelling.

But her school district doesn’t seem to share this belief in her abilities, as they continuously throw up roadblocks to her academic success. First, they wrongly told us Jocelynn couldn’t have an in-class support teacher for her accelerated math class. Then, at the end of this year, they said she cannot continue on the accelerated track. We were shocked. She had struggled to get from a “C” to a “B+”, well over the required grade average. When I asked why she was being kicked out, they said she did not meet "criteria," although she had according to the published requirements. This sounds like discrimination to me, and in New Jersey, it could cost Jocelynn her dream of being accepted into college because of the importance they put on the algebra track.

We are asking Freehold Township to recognize Jocelynn’s hard work and take her “B+” grade average as proof that she deserves to  continue in the accelerated math program.

If Jocelynn can’t take algebra in the eighth grade, her chances of being accepted into a state college drop dramatically. That may be unfair, but it’s the reality. So it takes a dedicated and hard-working student to have a chance. Jocelynn happens to be one of those dedicated students. Her disability has not held her back, and her school shouldn’t either.  

We shouldn’t have allowed the school to deny her special education supports  in this year’s math class. But we mistakenly did, and Jocelynn succeeded anyway. We will not make any more mistakes when it comes to Jocelynn’s right to succeed at school. We are taking this to the public because special needs students deserve to have their American dream -- that hard work and perseverance will be rewarded. Please join us in taking this stand against discrimination, so that Jocelynn and others like her can realize their dreams.

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