Woman claims EPIC kicked her son out of school after refusing to accommodate his physical disability

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A parent of a student at EPIC Stonegate says her son was kicked out of school for going to the bathroom too many times during the first day of school. 

Jaqui Hagerman says her son Austin has Cerebral Palsy, and had to have spine surgery over the summer, so right now he’s in a wheelchair. 

Jaqui says after his first day at EPIC Stonegate she got an email from Austin’s teacher asking for a meeting the next morning.  

“I was blindsided,” Jaqui told News 4. “I walked into a meeting and was told immediately that my son went to the bathroom six times yesterday.”

Jacqui says she was told the school couldn’t accommodate Austin’s physical needs, so he was being dismissed from the school. 

A school administrator later emailed Jacqui saying, “dismissing isn’t what is proposed,” but she says it was very clear what was happening in the meeting.  

“There was no misunderstanding. It was just me, a principal, and a teacher in there,” Jacqui said. “She sat down and just said, ‘he cannot go here anymore. We cannot accommodate for his physical disabilities.’”

News 4 did reach out to EPIC, and we were sent the following statement…

Because of federal student privacy laws, a school cannot publicly comment on a particular student matter. We can say that we have not dismissed any students, nor would we, and we comply with students’ special education Individualized Education Plans per federal law. We are committed to working with and ensuring our parents who have students with special needs are pleased with our services. 

Shelly Hickman, M.Ed. Assistant Superintendent, Communications, Epic Charter School

Jacqui says if what EPIC was claiming was true, Austin would still be in school, a place he wants to be.  

“He started telling me that he was willing to not use his wheelchair, and use his walker, if they didn’t like his wheelchair,” Jacqui said. “He was seeing it as he was the problem.”

Jacqui says EPIC called her Thursday morning, 30 minutes after News 4 reached out to the school, offering to make any accommodations necessary for Austin. 

She says right now they are looking into other school, and she has filed an official complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

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