A Familiy’s struggle with the education system in Walkerton, Indiana


From Pinterest

From Pinterest

Walkerton, Indiana – Jeff and Jody Toner discuss in the South Bend Tribune article the difficulties and ‘clash‘ that they had regarding their dauhgter’s education within the school district that then resulted in their withdrawing Mallary from school and enrolling her in an online school.

Mallary is now aged 12 and has Asperger Syndrome.

The dispute centered on John Glenn School Corp. They highlighted the lack of services that they provided as well as not recognising their daughter’s condition.

Jeff Toner said that the “injustices” in Mallary’s case:

“illustrate the attitude of indifference toward children with special needs”

“We strongly felt that more needed to be done to help our child and to ensure her welfare while in the school’s care,”

John Glenn Superintendent Richard Reese declined to comment on Mallary’s case because of federal student privacy laws.

Jody and Jeff volunteered in Mallary’s kindergarten class, the school was a private Christian school. they did so to help their daughter and teacher.

They told that by the time Mallary was in first grade her teacher could no longer tolerate her disruptions.

In 2007 they decided to enroll Mallary in John Glenn schools which is a public school thinking that there would be more support and her first- and second-grade teachers at North Liberty Elementary did an excellent job of welcoming her into the school and dealing with her meltdowns, her parents stated.

In March 2010 the Toners were told by Mallary’s psychologist that she has Asperger syndrome. It was also during this time that her behaviour started once again to be disruptive.

Jeff said:

“We didn’t want to be responsible for our child being the disruption in the classroom,”

They did ask for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Mallary but say that this was discouraged.

They go on to say in the article that a staff member suggested that

‘they pursue a 504 — a plan that is less comprehensive than an IEP and focuses on classroom accommodations for students who don’t need direct special education instruction. This would be based on Mallary’s diagnosis of an anxiety disorder’

This was implemented and she was given a given a quiet place to regain her composure during meltdowns.

Four days after the 504 was signed, the parents say that there were repeated violations of it by John Glenn schools’ personnel.

“We believe inappropriate punishment was a routine part of our daughter’s school day,”

The full and original article by Kim Kilbride on the South Bend Tribune website can be read here