York County School Division officials in a meeting with a mother fighting for more educational hours for her autistic son tried to hash things out in exchange for the mother’s complaints to be withdrawn.
That’s according to Larisa Turkatte, who for months has been fighting the YCSD for her son Brandon’s education, asking for more educational hours she said she feels are owed to her child, and having Brandon receive homebound education services.
The 7-year-old second grader has autism and a feeding disorder known as oral aversion.
Brandon was receiving homebound education services, where a special education teacher from YCSD comes to his home — his most recent application to continue those services was denied.
WYDaily would have had first-hand information but was denied access to the meeting last week by Elaine Gould, the school division’s director of student services – Larisa invited a WYDaily reporter to witness the meeting.
“We do not agree to meet with the press today,” Gould told the reporter at the time.
In an interview following the meeting last week, Larisa said neither party came to an agreement.
“Well, we haven’t resolved it yet,” Larisa said.
Larisa said school administrators said they would compensate 30 hours of Brandon’s education and temporarily approve homebound placement until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Since the placement is not permanent, the school would still need to re-evaluate Brandon for homebound services, Larisa said.
The school division will look for special education teacher soon, Larisa added.
In exchange, Larisa said school officials asked that she keep the meeting confidential, refute and withdraw all three of her complaints from the VDOE and if the same situation were to happen again, she could not complain about it within a certain timeframe.
“I didn’t sign anything,” she said, adding the school division wanted one parent to sign.
Brandon’s father, Nolan Sessions, has not signed yet but Larisa said she filed the complaint so it would have to be her signature.
While she is unsure of her decision at this time, she is meeting with a special education advocate in Richmond to explore her options.
“What was offered is basically what I can get by court order,” she said.
Larisa wrote an email to Gould, Kristin Bolam, principal at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, Todd Miller, vice principal at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, and Taylor Winding, Brandon’s ABA therapist, prior to the meeting.
“Looking forward to meet with you all again and hoping we can work out our disagreements on my son’s special needs and education,” Larisa wrote.
WYDaily attempted to contact Gould about the meeting but she did not immediately respond for comment.