Mother accuses metro school of disability discrimination

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PIEDMONT, Okla. - A metro school is being accused of discrimination.

Melanie Berry is a proud mother of four kids, one of which is a Piedmont Middle School student who has been diagnosed with ADHD.

"He's what's called twice exceptional. He's gifted, but he has a learning disability," Berry said.

Because of his disability, she went to school officials and asked for classroom accommodations.

"For things like extended test time, taking tests in a separate environment,” Berry said.

She said, even though - by law - those requests should have been granted, they were denied.

Berry said the school evaluated her son and claimed he did not have a learning disability.

"They denied him on the basis of not being ADHD, and on the fact that he has high test scores and he's in the gifted classes or something to that effect. And, it's in black and white in federal law that it does not matter if somebody is in accelerated classes, has high scores," Berry said.

After she and her attorney told the school they were filing a civil rights complaint with the United States Department of Education, she claims the school went after her by firing her as a substitute.

Now, the federal agency is investigating to see if the district “incorrectly determined the student was not eligible for special education and related services” and “the district retaliated against the student’s parent.”

Piedmont Schools Superintendent Dr. James White sent NewsChannel 4 the following statement:

“We have received notice, dated November 29, 2016, from the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights regarding a complaint filed by a parent of our school district. OCR has requested documentation regarding the issues raised in the complaint and we will be submitting all requested information. Unfortunately at this time, without a written release from the parent, we cannot discuss any specifics or details regarding this complaint because it deals with confidential student and personnel information.”

"The school has made it to where I'm having to give out all my son's information and, in doing so, my hope is that it helps all the other kids that are out there, like my son," Berry said.

No word on how long the investigation will take.