Mom says daughter was locked in school closet - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mom says daughter was locked in school closet

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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WHITEHAVEN, Tenn. (FOX13) - Karen Johnson said her 15-year-old special needs daughter Marcaren Christian has been repeatedly locked in a Whitehaven High School classroom closet.

The school says the student was falling behind but Johnson said that's not an excuse.

FOX13 News has seen pictures, several e-mails, medical records and even heard audio recordings of conversations between school leaders and this young girls mother. Between what we've read and heard this student's mom has been fighting for months for her child to be treated fairly.

Marcaren says even having ADHD and a seizure disorder she was an honor roll student last year at Whitehaven High. But this school year, her medical problems increased causing her to fall behind in school.

"She says she doesn't have time to go back and reteach me what she taught the other children, so she'll separate me," Marcaren said.

She said her orchestra teacher separates her by isolating her and making her sit in another room.
    
"It's basically a closet, an instrument closet."

A photo was taken after Marcaren was forced into the closet filled with instruments and brooms time and time again. Her mother says she has had numerous meetings and sent several e-mails about her daughter falling behind.

"Everything they ask of me I do it," Johnson said. "Every document from the doctor's, whatever they need I do it, to try to get what's best for my child."

Marcaren's mother says she is not asking the school for any special treatment for her child. She has asked the school to send home homework when Marcaren is sick from school. In several e-mails her plea with Whitehaven High's principal and teachers is the same.

One e-mail read, in part ..."My only wish is for her to finally have an equal opportunity, and a better effort set forward by educators to assist her in having a successful school year."

"She has special needs yes, but she can and still get the job done," Johnson said. "But they don't allow her the opportunity to show what she is capable of doing, and by her hurting it hurts me."

FOX13 News been in touch with Shelby County Schools about this matter, but were informed they couldn't comment due to student privacy rights.

Marcaren says at this point she just wants to catch up.

"I feel like it's a lot of work for them to do and they don't want to do it, so they just put it to the side," she said.

"She stated to me as well as others at the school, given the way the teacher treats me, she belittles me, she humiliates me, I prefer that closet because at least in there I'm not being bothered," Johnson said. "How is that okay for a child to feel that way?"

Johnson said she has turned to the Disability Law Advocacy Center for help in her daughter's situation.

The school district told FOX13 News it is looking into the allegations and is taking the situation seriously.

The audio recording that you heard in the video above, it's also clear a school leader is informing this family it's aware of what is happening. at this point the school wants all parties to move forward.

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