NEW CANEY, Texas (CBS Houston) – A Texas school district is banning a girl suffering from cerebral palsy from using a walker, instead wanting her to use a wheelchair at school.

Texas mother Kristi Roberts has been campaigning for her daughter, LaKay, the right to use her walker, despite the New Caney Independent School District board turning down the request.

Not satisfied with the answer, Roberts met with one school official, and recorded their interaction as he continued to deny LaKay, who suffers from cerebral palsy, the right to use the walker, insisting instead that she use a wheelchair.

Roberts documented the entire meeting on tape, then posted it to YouTube.

“Basically, she can’t use the walker because we don’t think it’s safe,” the official can be heard saying. “Didn’t she fall in the parking lot just yesterday?”

The incident he is referring to happened in the school’s parking lot, while Roberts was present.

“How many kids fall down at recess?” Roberts counters. “Do you make them take their shoes off and buy new ones?”

The school district told KRIV-TV that the tape does not give the entire picture of the situation.

“[T]he District does not agree that the recording at issue here is a complete recounting of the entire underlying confidential discussion and is therefore neither representative nor accurate towards explaining the District’s ongoing efforts to serve its students,” the school said in a statement to the station.

Roberts feels however that the school is holding her child back, and not acting in her best interests.

“I am a parent, and you’re an employee, that’s supposed to be an advocate for this child,” she states. “And from day one, you have not.”

The official concludes that the matter should be settled in court before the tape ends.

Roberts said that it took her daughter, who also suffers from epilepsy since birth, a long while to walk. She is calling for the resignation of the school district’s special education director.

“I want Gary Lemley to resign,” Roberts told the station. “I’d like an apology, and I would like her to use her walker again and get things changed in the special education department.”

Comments (16)
  1. tmuir says:

    This is nothing but a case of CYA. What happens if she falls? We can thank the DOE bureaucracy for this.

  2. Tragoudi Arpa says:

    This entire fiasco of prohibition from usinig a walker is totally for the school’s convenience.

    Do they realize that if LaKay does not continue to press forward in walking every day by using her walker, she can eventually lose her ability to walk at all?

    This is blatant discrimination against a handicapped individual and should be illegal under many levels of law, not the least of which is the spirit of the American Disability Act.

    I’m sure Mr. Lemley would prefer LaKay not be in his school at all. But he’s stuck with her.

    Disenfranchisement of the handicapped and sidelining them is a hallmark of 1940’s Germany.

    1. malbuff says:

      I agree 100% and believe the school district is going to lose this one in deservedly humiliating fashion, but Godwin’s Law sure showed up fast, didn’t it?

  3. TexMakMan says:

    New Caney, if you know where that is,that pretty much explains it. Gateway to Deep East Texas. Not a lot of brain cells or teeth out there.

  4. J T says:

    I’d look into homeschooling options as soon as possible.

  5. Sharon Gard says:

    As an educator, I state this man is a moron. He should be encouraging this child to use her walker instead of casting her into a wheelchair. The more this little girl uses her walker the stronger she will become. Putting her in a wheel chair will set back all of the gains that she has made in the last few years possibly making it impossible for her to reach her full walking abilities….ever.. This man is a disgrace and obviously knows little to nothing about children with physical disabilities. I hope this mother does go to court, someone needs to educate this person and it takes a court to do that, then so be it.

    1. JJ Lauren says:

      As a nurse, I completely agree with you – well said!!
      JJ Lauren, RN

  6. Teresa Sadowski says:

    It will be interesting to see how this works out. I’m a 25+ year speech pathologist and have seen a few of these situations. What makes this interesting is that it is usually the parent wanting to put their child in a wheelchair (for safety usually but sometime for other deeper reasons) and the school saying they child should use the walker/crutches. Schools usually look at walking as a way to increase independence and as a form of exercise. On many occasions a physical therapist has mentioned to me that a student should be using his walker more but the parents will not let them. I don’t want to just the school to harshly yet. There are reasons not to use a walker in certain environments at certain times. I just hope that the school and mom are listening to the professionals involved. If the school and outside professionals do not agree then bring in a third opinion. However, lots of times administrators do not understand the unique needs and challenges of special needs children. If I had to bet on the real reason for this situation that would be it. Please do a follow up on this story.

  7. Teresa Sadowski says:

    Ok I just listened to the video above. That is an inappropriate way for any administrator in a school to talk to a parent. I hope she had an advocate sitting next to her at that meeting but it didn’t sound like that. If I was sitting in that meeting as a school professional and heard her being spoken to like that I would have left the meeting.
    Does that administrator still have his job after that story made the local news. Here in New England he sure wouldn’t.

  8. RedRiverRover says:

    After observing the YouTube, and in the face of the fact that 2 doctors have stated that the young child should use her walker at school, and after this director Gary Lemley stated “You’re not concerned about LaKay” I can only conclude that this special education director should be removed immediately from duty, in addition to the New Caney Independent School District board be recalled.

    Maybe the members of the district’s board should read their own policy that states, “…the District dedicates itself to maintaining an atmosphere and attitude that will lend itself to the positive and wholesome development of the “total person — mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.”

    In this instance, the Board has shirked their own responsibilities to providing this child to become a “total person — mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.”

    See: Basic District Foundations – New Caney ISD 170908 EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

  9. issy says:

    Reason #999 to homeschool.

  10. Terry Petersen, PT, MS, PCS says:

    LaKay is able to be at least a household ambulator. Get some help from an experienced private physical therapist. Ask your therapist about a SWASH brace, Sure Steps de-rotation straps, and the right orthotics. The therapist should gait train Lakay and help the school to understand how to carry out the program at school.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s