ST. LOUIS • Two kindergartners repeatedly suspended from Confluence Academy Old North Campus in St. Louis did not receive the help from the charter school they needed, according to a complaint filed with the state education department.
The complaint requests that Confluence give the students an evaluation for special education, rather than continue to suspend the children for their behavior problems.
One of the kindergartners had been suspended at least nine times since January for pushing, hitting, running around the classroom, biting, refusing to do work and not following instructions, the complaint says. The other student was suspended five times in the same period for similar behavior.
Both kindergartners have been diagnosed and are being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. One of the students also has other mental and behavioral disorders, the complaint says.
"They need help," said Lucas Caldwell-McMillan, the attorney who filed the complaint. "They're not able to operate in a normal environment."
Like other public schools, charter schools under state law must provide special education services when students need them. School officials wouldn't comment on particulars of the cases, said Michael Serpe, spokesman for EdisonLearning, which manages the charter school. They are reviewing the complaints and will respond within 10 days, Serpe said.
Diane Crawford, the mother of one of the kindergartners, is looking for another school after being told by Confluence that her child could no longer attend there, she said. Her son spent 30 hours in out-of-school suspension. Now he faces repeating kindergarten, she said.
"This boy's 6 years old," she said. "He needs to be in school."
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Confluence Academy Old North St. Louis
CONFLUENCE ACADEMY FACES COMPLAINT OVER SUSPENSIONS, July 9, 2010, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)