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Clark County, NV: 40K students with special needs; schools struggle to provide services

Nov 15, 2018, NBC3, Las Vegas: VEGAS LOST: Some students with special needs are being let down by CCSD … She was a single mother with three kids. One son is mentally disabled, and he is one of thousands of students in Clark County with an “individualized education plan” or IEP. “The IEP even pretty much states what are the signs of him being frustrated. He can be mumbling, scripting, but then he does fists or that right there. That’s a sign something is going on.” His plan was supposed to educate teachers about his disability. It would help them see triggers for outbursts and help them de-escalate. Follow the plan, and he would be able to stay in regular classes. Veronica tells us that didn’t happen. “There were situations; the IEP not being followed, him getting suspended over and over and over again.” Suspended and transferred -- the district moving him to three schools. Each time, he had trouble adjusting. It’s the same story line we heard almost daily in court. “You guys have been working with legal aid, right?” Hearing Master Sonny Bailey asks the defendant. “Is that getting done?” Autism court is where autistic kids avoid the justice system with therapy. It’s also where parents tell Bailey about their problems with the Clark County School District. … "We go to IEP meetings and there’s 12 school employees and the parent and that’s it. Often times the parents feel like it’s us against them," an attorney from Legal Aid tells us. “It’s a vote and they go around the table. Usually the school will side with each other." "We have some students that cost ten thousand dollars to meet their needs," CCSD spokeswoman Kristen Shearer told us. The school district has 40,875 students with an IEP. Shearer tells us the vast majority of those plans are met, but with incredibly high stakes, they can do a better job. “We’ve had a lot of discussions of the school-to-prison pipeline," Shearer said.


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