FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Fleming County family is looking for answers after they say their 12-year-old son with autism was excluded from several school activities and even some classes.
A special moment, the transition from elementary school to middle school, was not special for 12-year-old Seth Layne, who has autism and developmental delays. His family says it started when Flemingsburg Elementary excluded him from a 6th-grade graduation video.
Seth’s mom Kristy Layne, says, "We found that he was left out of trips, as far as things that the other 6th graders got to do - and while that was appalling and heartbreaking, it was worse when we found out that he wasn't being included in going to the lunchroom or coming out of the classroom for much of anything."
Kristy Layne explained it's taken a lot of therapy and hard work to get Seth where he is now - and that makes her son's exclusion all the more heartbreaking. In a statement to the community, Fleming County School’s superintendent said the following:
Dear Fleming Countians,
I have been made aware of a situation that occurred at Flemingsburg Elementary School regarding the inclusivity of students with special needs that goes directly against our mission, vision, and our intensive focus on equitable learning experiences for all students. Though the incident in question occurred this week, there appears, from an initial review, to be other instances we also need to review. Unfortunately, this may impact students across the district. As Fleming County Schools is a self-reporting school district for incidents such as this, we have already reported this to the United States Office of Civil Rights and the Kentucky Department of Education. Other agencies may be notified once we perform a full review of the situation(s). Furthermore, we have already reached out to our agency partners to begin a full and thorough, top-down review of policies and procedures relevant to exceptional children at Flemingsburg Elementary School and across the district.
Excluding any student from any school-sponsored activity or experience, based on learning or physical ability, is not who we are as a school district. Following a comprehensive review, the district will develop an action plan to better train staff so things like this do not occur in the future. Furthermore, safeguards to protect students will be implemented immediately. As a district, we must do better for our students.
Should you have any questions or feedback regarding this situation, feel free to contact Mrs. Tiffany Lane, Director of Special Education, at 606-845-5851 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can always contact me at 606-845-5851 or via email at email@example.com.
Respectfully, Brian K. Creasman
Superintendent Fleming County Schools
We reached out to Fleming County Schools, who say they are currently looking into why this all happened – but Seth’s family says they haven't gotten an answer that's acceptable.
"What conversations I have had, with the assistant principal and some teachers at the school, the answers that I got was they dropped the ball," says Kristy.
Seth’s older sister Teagan Layne studies special education. She wanted to get into the field because of her brother. She says inclusion among all children, especially those with special needs, is important.
"I really hope that they are able to fix what they have broken," says Teagan. "There's many kids that have fell through the cracks that you could say and I don't believe that there should be any cracks for kids to fall through."
Kristy worries her son has missed out on the education he deserves and on socialization. Now, she just wants to see a change.
"I hate that these things are happening and have happened in the past, but I’m not going to stop until there's real change and that something is done about this," said Kristy. "Not only for Seth but for other kids too."
Fleming County Schools have policies that say special needs students have equal opportunities to participate in student activities. Kristy Layne says her son deserves the same education and opportunities as any other child and she wants to see this wrong, made right.