Mom Demands Answers as City School Violates State/Federal Law
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A mother is demanding answers from Baltimore City Public Schools after learning her seventh grade son has been receiving a first grade education.
“It’s been a nightmare,” says Julie Gaskins, who recently met with City Schools administrators about her son’s education. Project Baltimore obtained audio from that heated closed-door meeting. “I’ve never encountered anything like this before, and I hope I never do again.”
Gaskins’ son, who she asked not to be identified, attends Garret Heights Elementary Middle in northeast Baltimore. He has an IEP, an Individualized Education Program for his vision disability. His school gets extra funding to help him. But a few months ago, Gaskins received a troubling letter from the state.
The Maryland State Department of Education looked into a complaint filed by Gaskins and found that her son, who is in seventh grade, had an IEP designed for a first grader. MSDE declared the school in violation of state and federal law.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. There is no excuse for it. These people are being paid a lot of money to do a job and in any other industry, they would be terminated immediately,” stated Gaskins.
During the meeting at Garrett Heights, Gaskins engaged in this heated exchange.
Gaskins: “How many students have not gotten the level of education they need because of your incompetence? You have failed to comply with the law. How are you going to correct it?”
School Attorney: “I understand your frustration, but you being upset with me is not productive.”
Gaskins: “What is not productive is this level on incompetence, sir.”
School Attorney: “The goal of this is not to remedy anything that happened in the past. We can only address…”
Gaskins: “I understand that. But we are talking about a child who is 13 and needs extensive help.”
“No. It was very frustrating,” Gaskins replied when asked if she got the answers she sought. “It’s heartbreaking because there are so many kids in this school and within the school system that have these IEPs. And the system - they don’t care. Their only concern is pushing them through the system and collecting their money.”
Project Baltimore contacted Garrett Heights and North Avenue. Both declined comment.
The State Department of Education gave North Avenue a February 1st deadline to conduct an internal investigation to determine whether this was an isolated incident.