Beaufort Co. mom fights for inclusion at school for her special needs kids

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – A Beaufort County mom is speaking out after she said her special needs children were repeatedly bullied and discriminated against at P.S. Jones Middle School in Washington.

Brenda Willis said the final straw before reaching out to WNCT was when she was told she wouldn’t be able to come to a dance to attend to her special needs daughter.

“We were told we would be somewhere else in the school and we would be hidden away, and then if we were needed, we would come and be fetched,” she said.

Her daughter has cerebral palsy, and is bound in a wheelchair. Her daughter’s date is more severely disabled, suffering from holoprosencephaly, which prohibits him from doing normally simple tasks like swallowing.

Willis argued both children needed constant supervision from highly trained people, which is why both parents wanted to attend. She said both she and the other child’s mother were allowed at Martin County school dances to do the same thing.

But, Principal Tracey Nixon said it was policy not to allow parents at the dance to allow the kids to be in the spotlight.

WNCT reached out to both the school and Beaufort County Superintendent Don Phipps.

Shortly after visiting the school, Willis received a call from Principal Nixon, informing her that both she, and the other mother, would be allowed to attend the dance.

But Willis is upset that it had to get to this point.

“She should have the same access to a dance, and the same experience at the dance, as any other kid at that school,” she said.

Willis said this is the latest example of her daughter being discriminated against at the school. She also said her autistic son, who attends the same school, consistently is bullied for his special needs.

“It’s the mentality at that school that kids like my daughter are dismissed and ignored,” she said.

Both Nixon and Don Phipps told WNCT they take discrimination very seriously and wouldn’t sit by and let it happen. They said they wanted to ensure all kids at the dance were treated fairly.

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