Woman says autistic son denied spot on cross country team

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WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut mother has filed a complaint with the state Department of Education alleging that her 12-year-old autistic son was prevented by school officials from joining his middle school's cross country team in violation of federal law.

Maura Kearns, of Watertown, says in her complaint that administrators at Swift Middle School allowed her son to attend one practice last fall before they decided not to allow him to participate on the team, t he Republican American of Waterbury reported Sunday.

Kearns wrote in her complaint that school officials later suspended her son from any after-school activities because he bit a teacher and posed a safety risk.

“I believe this was done in retaliation against myself,” Kearns wrote.

The Bureau of Special Education has assigned an investigator to look into Kearns’ complaint, the department said. The investigator has 60 days from Dec. 18, the date Kearns submitted the complaint, to compile a report and determine whether district officials violated any part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Watertown Public Schools Superintendent Rydell Harrison said he was aware of the complaint but could not comment on the specifics.


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