Legally blind student forced to transfer schools, appeal denied

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Friday, June 15, 2018
Family of blind student is fighting to keep their son at his school
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Family of blind student is fighting to keep their son at his school

WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- Seven-year-old David Whitman "Whit" English has oculocutaneous albinism and according to doctors, the eye condition "impacts his vision to the level of legal blindness."

Last year, Wake County Public Schools informed Whit's parents that the student would no longer be allowed to attend Yates Mill Elementary. Instead, the soon-to-be 2nd grader would have to take classes at Creech Road Elementary.

"It's not like we're asking him to be in the top school in Wake County," said mother Krista Thompson. "Just stay where he is."

Thompson told ABC11 the learning curve at Creech Road will take "months" because her son will have to learn the environment and atmosphere all over again.

In the family's appeal, English's doctor wrote, "It would be to David's great benefit to continue to be educated in an environment that he is already familiar with to ease navigation, mobility, etc."

Even with the doctor's letter, the Office of Student Assignment with WCPSS still denied English's appeal to remain at Yates Mill.

The 7-year-old, according to his mother, cannot see airplanes or birds in the sky and even has to sit extremely close to the TV.

"I feel like we're failing him," Thompson said. "We felt confident this would be all that we needed. Obviously not."

ABC11 reached out to officials with WCPSS. They declined to discuss specifics about English's situation. However, they added, "Students were reassigned from Yates Mill because the school is extremely overcrowded. We would not assign a student to a school that could not meet his or her needs."