Non-handicap accessible school blocks Montgomery girl from class

Karen Lunde and her daughter, Maegan
Karen Lunde and her daughter, Maegan

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Karen Lunde's daughter, Maegan, was ready for her first day in high school.

"I've been under the impression all summer long that she was going to Lee," Lunde explained.

Lunde has special needs, including the use of a wheelchair.  That's where her plans to go to nearby Robert E. Lee High School screeched to a stop.

"We were blocked before we could get through the parking lot to the front door," Karen Lunde said.

Lee High isn't wheelchair accessible, and Karen Lunde says administrators decided to send Maegan to Jefferson Davis High School without her consent.

"I don't understand why all of a sudden my daughter cannot go to that school, that is closest to our home," Karen exclaimed.

A school system spokesman tells WSFA 12 News he can't respond specifically to Maegan's case because of privacy laws.

Still, Tom Salter says the 'individual education plans'--or IEPs--aren't changed by themselves.

"The parent signs off on it as well as the individuals who work for the school system," Salter explained.

Lunde says staffers already agreed to cross Jeff Davis off the plan.

Salter says every accommodation is being made for students with disabilities.

"We're not always able to meet every expectation the parent has, but we do follow federal and state guidelines, and we make sure that the students are served to the best of our abilities," Salter said.

Still, Maegan's parents want their daughter close to home and don't think the system should choose for them.

"I don't think anyone knows my child better than her father and I do, and what her needs are and what needs need to be met," Lunde said.

Lunde sent WSFA 12 News a copy of a doctor's note, highlighting concerns for Maegan and circulatory issues when it comes to longer bus trips.

For now, Maegan is still out of school.

WSFA 12 News has learned the Southern Poverty Law Center is now involved with the situation.  Stay tuned for updates.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.