Fed up with WCPSS, a mom pulls her special needs daughter from school system

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Crystal De la Cruz has had enough, she says.

The mother of a student with special needs is fed up with Wake County Schools and is pulling her daughter out of the school system.

Crystal De la Cruz wrote an open letter Wednesday documenting her ongoing frustrations to district officials.

"That trust is long gone. Like, can't-even-see-it-in-my-rear-view-mirror gone," she wrote.

RELATED: De la Cruz's open letter to WCPSS (.pdf)

Isabel, 18, is severely disabled.

De la Cruz said she has been fighting an uphill battle for her special education for years.

"It is a constant, constant, exhausting battle," she said. "I had to fight to get the transportation staff properly trained. I had to fight to get the bus time reduced. Every year. Even though it's in the IEP, you have to start over from scratch."

Isabel, 18, is disabled and also diabetic.

Isabel is also diabetic and requires constant care.

A mishap last year with her insulin records at Wakefield High School was the final straw.

"Out of four months, one week was accurate. Only one week," said De la Cruz. "There were days she was being put on the cab in the afternoon with her blood sugar at 80 for an hour. For anyone that knows anything about diabetes, she could have bottomed out and gone into a coma before she got home."

"We got very close to seeking due process remedies. We had DPI get involved for a mediated conference," said Isabel's father, Kevin Hopper.

A new teacher was eventually brought in, and classroom conditions began to improve. But at the end of the year, she transferred to another school.

"Good teachers are not supported in the ways that they need to be," said De la Cruz. "I knew when I got that email that I wasn't sending her back."

Isabel's class returned to school this month without a permanent teacher.

Crystal De la Cruz is now looking to enroll Isabel in a day program.

That is when De la Cruz decided to write to Wake County Schools requesting her daughter's withdrawal.

"Frankly, I'm not sure I have the fight left in me to do this ridiculous special education advocacy dance again for the umpteenth time without going to jail. Either way. I'm done. We're done," she wrote.

Wake County Schools told ABC11 it is against policy to comment on the situations of specific students.

A spokesperson for the district said a new teacher has been hired for the ID-Severe class at Wakefield High School and is scheduled to start Sept 29.

Two other vacancies for ID-Severe classes in WCPSS are in the process of being filled.

"Because of the specialized training required of the jobs and the shortage of qualified candidates, these positions are considered critical needs and receive priority in our recruitment process," said a WCPSS spokesperson.


As of two weeks ago, WCPSS had 20 special education positions still open.

De la Cruz is now looking to enroll Isabel in a day program.

She hopes her letter will give other parents of students with special needs a voice.

"I've run my leg of the relay. I'm passing the baton now," she said.

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