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Killeen parent outraged after autistic child placed into wrong class

by Rob Munoz

KILLEEN - A Killeen parent is outraged after she went to take her child to school, but was told he was moved elsewhere for his special needs classes.

Darla McGowan and her family have just moved to Killeen from Ohio. Their 3rd grade son Isaiah has autism and an IQ of 83.

They enrolled Isaiah at his home school, Trimmier Elementary, but Killeen ISD instead placed him in a special learning program at Sugar Loaf Elementary.

That program, McGowan claims, is too restrictive for her son and it doesn't meet his needs.

When she confronted the school district about it -- she was told to go elsewhere.

"The only thing that they said to me is 'If you do not want your son in the TLC program at school, then take him home.' My son has been out of school for 4 days," says McGowan

Killeen ISD says it does everything it can to accommodate its kids.

"What we do is provide comparable services for what they had in the district they came from," says Lynn Young, director of special education.

All of this happened without a meeting with the parents and administrators required under the Individual Disabilites Education Act -- an ARD, or Admissions Review and Dismissal Committee.

Killeen ISD says it strictly follows the law regarding this circumstance.

Disabled children advocate Phyllis Nairn says this shouldn't have happened with Isaiah.

"In my professional opinion, no. This should not happen to any child ever, or any parent. I've met Isaiah, and this is not the correct placement for the child," says Nairn.

Tuesday afternoon, News Channel 25 spoke with Isaiah's parents and they said that they have just left their required admissions meeting.

Isiaiah will be attending Trimmier like they wanted, but in a regular 3rd grade classroom.

With his level of autism, his mother feels he won't be able to keep up.

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