Ben Chapman, New York Daily News, December 14, 2017
Brooklyn Legal Services lawyer Nancy Bedard is representing the Crown Heights family that has asked for anonymity because the 8-year-old boy and his sister are still enrolled at the Success Academy Prospect Heights charter school.
In February, Success Academy initiated a 45-day suspension after officials said he hurled a stool at an assistant principal and dragged her down a hallway by the hair.
Suspensions of 40 days or more are extremely rare in traditional public schools. But they are not illegal, as long as certain rules are followed, including requirements to hold pre-suspension hearings.
Bedard says Success Academy didn’t hold a hearing, making the suspension illegal.
An independent hearing officer with the Education Department found the boy’s behavior was not severe enough to warrant Success Academy’s punishment, and issued an order in March that required that the school take him back after serving 24 days of the suspension.
Success Academy officials also suspended the boy for 20 days on Sept. 12 after officials said he stabbed an aide in the eye with a pencil.
The boy’s mother said he suffers from a blood disorder called beta thalassemia that causes fatigue and irritability.
She said Success Academy officials have tried to push him out of the school ever since he enrolled in October 2016.
Success Academy officials contend the student is a danger to himself and those around him. They also said the boy hit staffers, destroyed classroom items and ran away from class in multiple incidents.
“Unfortunately, in his time at Success Academy, this student has been involved in over two dozen violent incidents causing injuries to his classmates and his teachers, two of whom sought emergency medical treatment, and leading five paraprofessionals to quit.”