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Franklin County parents want more Special Education services

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(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) - The Franklin County School Board was met with several parents Monday night who were angry over what they say is a neglect of services for children with special needs.

Robin Mayes says she has been coming to Franklin County School Board meetings with her daughter Maggie for the last five years petitioning for more special education services.

"That's all we've ever wanted was for them to sit down and hear what the problem is and we want to come up with a solution. Unfortunately, they have never done that," said Mayes.

Mayes' daughter is deaf, autistic, and has down syndrome. She says the lack of services in the county is what drove her to quit her job and pull her daughter out of the schools.

"There's just not anyone here who's qualified to teach deaf children," said Mayes.

She was joined by several parents Monday night, holding signs to protest the system.

Michaelynn Hanson also quit her job when she says her son didn't receive the services he needed.

"Who decides if a child is Autistic? Is it the doctors or is it the school? Because that was, they wouldn't recognize his diagnosis and hence he ended up in the psych ward because he couldn't cope with the classroom setting," said Hanson.

Parents say they were especially angry after seeing the Superintendent quoted in a local newspaper, calling many of these claims against the system "frivolous".

"When I saw the article today insinuating that myself or anybody else in our group of parents lied or fabricated, I felt like we needed to come out and speak about it," said Hanson.

Hanson says her son is finally receiving some services after missing more than a year of school. He is in a one on one setting with no other students and receives services three days a week. Hanson says she wants answers.

"If they've had to hire an attorney, they'll have to explain that one, because I don't have an attorney. I can't afford an attorney, I haven't worked in 2 years because I've been home with him because he's not in school," said Hanson.

Thanks to these parent complaints, and help from Senator Bill Stanley from Virginia's 20th Senatorial District, the Department of Education launched a three-week investigation into the school system last October.

The results of that investigation have not been released.

School Board Chair G.B. Washburn said Monday if the Superintendent used the word "frivolous" when referring to parent claims, the statement was taken out of context.

WSLS reached out to him and the Superintendent for comment, but have not heard back.