CLSMF and Channel 9: DOJ looking into allegations of discrimination against autistic Volusia County students
Channel 9 reporter Michael Springer interviewed CLSMF’s Children’s Rights Unit Leader, Katie Kelly, and her client Jasmine Harper regarding a DOJ complaint CLSMF filed on behalf of 11 families last year. CLSMF noticed a trend in Volusia County where children with autism and other disabilities were being handed over to law enforcement when experiencing a disability-related episode instead of implementing the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) each student with disabilities has. During the interview, Jasmine said “Administrators are not doing what they need to do, so they are always depending on the police officers to do their job for them.” Although the DOJ can not provide any comment on the possible investigation in question, they have published a hotline and email address that parents of Volusia County students can contact to report any concerns they have with the school system.
Katie Kelly is an attorney with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and is representing parents in the initial complaint. She hopes for change at Volusia County Schools. “A kid with autism who is having a bad day should be handled by trained professional, not someone who carries a badge and a gun,” she said.