Boulder Valley Schools move special needs program

9NEWS at 4 p.m. 10/13/16.

BOULDER - Finding the proper school for son Lochlan was not easy according to Gina Lesch. The 9-year-old boy deals with with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.

"Finding the right place for your child is paramount and particularly for a child who hasn't fit in," Lesch said.

When Lochlan started attending Mesa Elementary in School in Boulder, she says his life changed. Mesa houses the Intensive Learning Center for Students with Affective Needs program known as ICAN, for short. ICAN helps students with high emotional needs.

"We love this school. I can't say enough," Lesch said. "It's such a wonderful, warm caring environment."

At Mesa, students with special needs are included in the traditional classroom and Lesch says Lochlan has adapted well and made plenty of friends.

"It's priceless," Lesch said.

But, Wednesday night, Lesch and other parents in the ICAN program received a letter from the Boulder Valley School District stating that the ICAN program will be moved to the new campus being built in Erie in eastern Boulder County.

The Boulder Valley School District issued a statement which reads in part, "With the opening of a new school in Erie next school year and, after an analysis of the current student needs district wide, the Erie school was determined to be the best location for the BVSD ICAN (Intensive Learning Center for Students with Affective Needs) program," 

Lesch says this is devastating news for kids who do not handle change very well. Plus, she says the Erie school is at least 45 minutes away each way.

"To move him to a completely different school after everything we've been through and no familiar kids, none of his friends, his last year of grade school, it's awful," Lesch said.

The district says it notified parents and listed several benefits to the move in its statement.

"Some of BVSD Special Education’s best hopes in transitioning the ICAN program to Erie include:

● Moving students to a school in their K-12 feeder system, whether at Erie or another school with an ICAN program.

● Placing students in our first ICAN program K-8 which will minimize future transitions for our students.

● Brent Caldwell, principal of Erie, is well versed in leading intensive special education programs and is an advocate for the ICAN program to be an integral part of the Erie opening.

● Erie’s school design and training of the teachers is based around inclusive supports for all students which will be an excellent fit for many of our students."

While the district calls it progress, Lesch calls it something else.

"How do explain to your child that he's being chosen and removed from his old school and none of the other are? It's complete discrimination," Lesch said. "There's no other way to frame that."

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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