Child with autism told he can start going to school after funding dispute was resolved

schoolEdmonton, Canada — A child with autism who was caught in a crossfire between two school districts and his mother over funding for his schooling has been told he can now start going to school.

Simon Wray is set to start seventh grade this year, but the predicament he suddenly found himself in almost prevented that from happening.

Simon’s predicament started when his family moved to St. Albert last month. He and his younger brother, Seth, were accepted at the Victoria School for the Arts in Edmonton, where they were previously residents.

The problem was, Edmonton School District was no longer willing to fund Simon’s schooling since he is no longer a resident there.

St. Albert School District officials, on the other hand, insisted that they could not fund Simon’s schooling if he was to attend school in Edmonton, as rules prohibit them to provide funding for school services outside the district— if the same can be availed at schools within the district. According to the school board policy:

“Only when we cannot provide appropriate programming do we consider sponsorship in another district.”

Simon’s mother, Caitlin, was worried that the only option they had left was to resort to legal actions. She told:

“Unfortunately, our family has been put in the position where we’re going to have to seek legal advice just to get both of our boys to be treated equally.”

Advocacy group Inclusion Alberta expressed full support for the Wrays, and were set to provide assistance to the family had there been a need for them to resort to legal actions.

Fortunately, the Wrays’ problem has been resolved with a little help from the Canadian Education Minister.

The Edmonton SchoolDistrict informed the family Friday that Simon may start attending classes at the Victoria School for the Arts.

Mrs. Wray was happy about the board’s decision. She told:

“Right now I think we feel like today was a victory for all parties involved.”

“We feel like the victory is Simon’s because he gets to attend the school that he had a right to attend.

“And, it’s a victory for all special needs students across the province because the minister has confirmed that there’s general concern about how policies allowed this to happen.”

Simon, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s, was ecstatic upon learning the news. He told:

“I’m really happy. I did a victory lap around the house multiple times. I just ran around the house.”

Source: Emily Mertz: Global News: Advocacy Group Helping Alberta Family Fight ‘Discrimination’ Against Boy with Autism