DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas ISD is suing a 7-year-old former student in federal court over the right to test him for autism over his parents’ objections.
The Texas Education Agency has weighed in twice, both time siding with the boy’s parents.
Now the district is appealing in federal court, arguing federal law requires them to test the boy for all suspected disabilities.
The child was in the audience at Thursday’s school board meeting, as speakers criticized the district over the lawsuit.
Doctors have diagnosed the boy with ADHD and dyslexia, and his mother, Angela Bolton-Smith requested he be evaluated by Dallas ISD for special education services.
But, Dallas ISD staff began to suspect the student might have autism and asked for consent to test him for that specifically.
His mother said, no, prompting the district to determine it could not complete a full and accurate evaluation.
“It’s almost like Dallas ISD wants to take the parent out of the picture – and they feel like they are the experts – and us like parents, moms and dads, that we won’t know what’s best for our children,” said Bolton-Smith.
The district says it is simply seeking to comply with federal law requiring it to provide all students with a “free appropriate public education.”
Bolton-Smith, though, is herself a special education teacher for Dallas ISD and until recently worked as a diagnostician, evaluating students for special needs.
She says, it’s only her opinion on her own child the district isn’t taking seriously.
The Dallas ISD administration said in a statement, “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandates school districts to test in every area of suspected disability. Dallas ISD is seeking to comply with that federal law.”