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Glendale mother upset over school's handling of graduation for special needs students

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 21:56:38-04

GLENDALE, AZ — Kailie Kyle is the mother of an autistic kindergartner who attends Kachina Elementary in Glendale. She's upset after she learned Thursday morning that her son wouldn't be walking in the kindergarten graduation ceremony.

Kyle says she was told that since her son is in the ARISE classroom, which is a class for students with autism and special needs, that her son wouldn't be walking in the school’s kindergarten graduation. She was told her son’s class has their own separate, in classroom celebration.

"I expected him to see this and the fact that he didn't see it and no one told me, or set me up to say ARISE students don't get graduation,” Kyle said. “If I would've been told that when he was sent to that school, then I would've set myself up for it already."

Kyle brought her concerns to the school principal who apologized for any confusion and invited her son and family to attend the general education kindergarten graduation ceremony. However, Kyle was not satisfied with the school’s response.

"I feel like they were just trying to tell me what I wanted to hear and I'm going to press the issue more, not only for my son but for other parents and students that are going through this," she said.

The principal of Kachina Elementary told ABC15 that going forward they are going to re-evaluate their kindergarten graduation process and that students in the special needs class have a classroom celebration because some of them may be overwhelmed by a large ceremony.

The Peoria Unified School District saying in statement:

The Peoria Unified School District was made aware that a parent was questioning our Kindergarten promotion practices. We were glad to talk through our process with her and she indicated that we had addressed her concern. We always encourage our parents to reach out to principals with any concerns so we can talk collaboratively to improve our process and to build a better understanding.