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School District Fails Evaluations: A Child Suffers Years of Lost Learning

A boy named Jarron Draper started his education like any other child, but fell behind as a seven-year-old child. At that age, he was doing poorly and needed the school to provide him with help. Although his teacher recommended that the child be tested to determine what was causing his academic problems, nothing was done. Teachers requested this help in 1995, 1996, and twice in 1997. Throughout this time, the school continued to provide basic education and often isolated the child from functional exercises that could have improved his education.

grade_F.jpgThen, in 1998, Draper was tested and the test revealed that he was failing because of a specific learning disability. At that time, it was evident he had clear signs of dyslexia but these were not addressed by the school system. He was placed in a restrictive classroom from 1998 through 2003. When he entered high school, he had not improved and in fact was struggling at early elementary levels. How does a boy at the age of 13 have only a third grade education?

Later, he was determined that Draper suffered from a low average range of intelligence, a far upper level compared to that of which he was diagnosed in 1998. This means that he did have the ability to learn and he could have been taught, if the school system would have taken steps to test for the disability and provided appropriate education for him.

Unfortunately, although parents recommended aid several times from the school, it would take the courts to intervene before the boy would be given the help he needed. By the time he was in the 12th grade, he still struggled with elementary level education (although the school had thrown him back into the same classes as other high school kids.) The courts ruled that Draper was not provided an effective education under state law by the Atlanta Independent School System. And, although the school tried to appeal the case, it was determined that the school must give him extensive private aid or pay for a private school.

Up to 20 percent of students drop out because they do not have legal representation to help them fight school failures. Draper did have this, but it is worrisome to think of what would happen to students who do fall through the cracks.