By Associated Press - Sunday, May 1, 2016

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - State education officials are requiring the Tupelo school district to develop a plan for how it will meet the physical and educational needs of a student who has cerebral palsy.

The Mississippi Department of Education gave the local district 30 days to develop the plan, and 60 days to provide teachers with training on how to teach students who have multiple disabilities.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports ( ) that the Tupelo district is appealing several findings from the state department’s investigation.

Lori Loden, mother a 7-year-old student at Lawhon Elementary School, filed a formal complaint against the Tupelo district, claiming it failed to provide appropriate special education services to meet her son’s physical, medical and educational needs. Loden is no relation to Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden.

The child has stopped attending Lawhon since the complaint was filed.

“He needs the opportunity to be taught in the right way, with the right materials and right instructors,” said the child’s grandmother, Kay Loden.

The school district said in a statement it is developing a plan to ensure it takes appropriate actions, including things it was planning to do regardless of sanctions from the Department of Education.

The district are questioning how the investigation was conducted, saying it in a statement that it appears those in charge of the probe were neither administrators nor special education teachers.

The Department of Education investigated the complaint by conducting on-site interviews with Loden, her child’s teachers and other district officials and by observing the child’s classroom.

This investigation showed the school nurse provided no services to the child and was unaware of his needs, including his use of a feeding tube. It also showed the school district did not create a crisis medical plan for the child and did not provide a hospital bed for him, as requested by his mother. The school district said it lacked medical records required to prove the child’s need for the bed, but Loden said she provided documents.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal,

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