Special needs girl in center of school controversy

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - 18-year old Maegan Palmer has cerebral palsy, she is autistic and legally blind.

"And very smart," said her mom Karen Lunde.

In mid-May Maegan's mom Karen Lunde says Lee High School in Montgomery accepted Maegan but 3 months later.. just before the start of the new school year..  the school district rejected her enrollment and registered Maegan at Jeff Davis High School.

All this:

"Without my consent or her father's," said Lunde.

At the rally in support of Maegan in front of the Montgomery County School Board Office, you could sense her dad's frustration.

"We are responsible for protecting the innocent and those who cannot stand up for themselves," said Chris Palmer.

According to Lunde and Palmer, the issue at Lee High does not appear to have anything to do with Maegan being in a wheelchair. Palmer and Lunde claim the school has accepted students in wheelchairs before.

In fact, Lunde says she was very impressed with the special ed teachers at Lee. Furthermore, Maegan is zoned for Lee and lives just 4 minutes away.

Jeff Davis High School on the other hand is a little more than 3 miles away.

"This rally today is not just for Maegan," Lunde at the podium mike.

"There is nothing wrong with J-D. This is still a mystery. We met with the school board attorney and the attorney said in no uncertain terms, there is no other option," said Lunde.

Tom Salter is the Public Information Officer for the school district. Salter says privacy laws prevent him from talking specifically about Maegan's case.

"But I can tell you all of our students are provided space, so it's up to those individuals to take advantage of that," said Salter.

"I respect that response but this is so much more than a privacy issue," said Lunde.

WSFA 12 News was unable to reach the school board attorney.

These days Maegan stays at home with her mom while another school week has come and gone, 3 weeks and counting for Maegan Palmer.

Lunde says she has already contacted her attorney and they have filed the first legal claim, a due process claim.

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