Last year, South Carolina mother Gretchen Herrera's son Anthony, who has Asperger syndrome and Type I diabetes, was kicked out of his online charter school.
Ms. Herrera had tried to have Anthony, 12, exempted from South Carolina's annual tests in reading, math, and other subjects when he was in 6th grade last school year. But no reason would do—not even a medical note that explained Anthony's blood sugar could spike because of his Asperger-related anxiety, which is just what happened on the first day of testing. Anthony, who did well on the exam, stayed home during other state tests.
The federal Office for Civil Rights decided late last year that Anthony wasn't the victim of discrimination when he was kicked out of the school. The online charter school dismissed about two dozen other students, too, because they didn't take state tests—not all of them had disabilities. The scores from those tests determine whether a school makes adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind law.
Still, when testing time returns later this year, Ms. Herrera isn't worried about what she will do or how Anthony will handle the stress of the tests.
Anthony is now homeschooled.
"I have been told I need to provide him for their testing, and I have told them I don't
have an AYP to care about, so no," she said.
Anthony, who needs to socialize and spend time with other children, can do that through gatherings of other students who are homeschooled, like a sleepover this week at the South Carolina State museum.
After nearly a year of battle with schools and the state department of education, Ms. Herrera has found peace for Anthony, now a 7th grader, even if she may face additional challenges down the line.
"I can't be happier," she said.