Civil Lawsuit hearing underway at Department of Education - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Civil Lawsuit hearing underway at Department of Education

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On Wednesday a conference room at the Department of Education was filled with teachers, a judge and on either side of the table, School District Attorney Scott Bennett and Deborah and Greg Hyde, who chose to represent themselves.

"I took every waking moment from the last IEP meeting which was the 3rd of May until last night and will continue this evening to prepare," says Hyde.

At the center of the hearing, 10-year-old Luka, a third grader with down syndrome and a former student at Normal Park Elementary. That was until the Department of Education thought it was best to move him, an idea the Hydes continue to fight.

"We've demonstrated that he cannot access the general learning environment, the general curriculum with a lot of intensive support so we have to figure out what's the next step," Special Ed Supervisor Willeta Kendrick testifies.

While at Normal Park Luka spent six hours a day in general education classes, one hour in special education. Hyde says the school's proposal to move Luka to Red Bank Elementary, where he'd spend more time in liberal art classes, would drastically cut his academic learning time. However, the educators maintain the program would've been better for Luka as an individual since he was not making enough progress at Normal Park.  

"The IDA doesn't say that a student has to achieve a certain level of performance expectation, present levels of performance in order to deserve an appropriate education. So they can talk about Luka but what did the school do and that's really the crux of the case," says Hyde.

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