A young boy with disabilities will now get to visit an East Tennessee attraction after being excluded from a class field trip.
We first told you last week about Cumberland County third grader Holdan Crawley missing out on a visit to the zoo when his school told his family they didn't have a driver for a specially equipped bus to take him.
Now, the Knoxville Zoo and his district met with family members to arrange for a new trip.
The school will provide the bus and Crawley will go with his family and some of his friends to the zoo next Thursday.
Previous story: April 11, 2014
(WBIR-Monterey) The grandmother of third grade student Holdan Crawley, 9, said since he began using a wheelchair two years ago, he's longed to live a normal life again. That would be difficult since an accident left him unable to walk or speak.
"This was an accident that happened two years ago on March the first. He was hit as a pedestrian by a van," recalled Pam Flowers, Holdan's grandmother.
So his class trip to the Knoxville Zoo Friday would bring a little normalcy to his life -- until the family received a call from Stone Elementary School, where Holdan attends.
"We do not have a driver that can take Holden to the zoo," the voicemail message stated.
"And therefore we can't take Holdan to the trip today. Like, it was no big deal," commented Flowers.
She said the lack of a driver violates her grandson's civil rights. According to ADA guidelines, schools must accommodate persons with disabilities in extracurricular activities, like field trips.
Cumberland County School superintendent Donald Andrews said he heard about the decision early Friday morning, after the bus left for Knoxville.
"Based on what I have heard at this point, this child should have been allowed to go," Andrews said.
He said the schools offered another trip, one later in the day and another next week for Holdan to go. Flowers said no.
"He wanted to go with his classmates, so I declined. I did tell him he would work on that in the future," Flowers said. "I still want him to go."
Andrews said he's collecting statements from school administrators, and would respond to a formal complaint, filed by Flowers late Thursday night.
"So it doesn't happen again, and then most importantly is make it right for this young man to go," he said.