7th Grader Getting 1st Grade Education: City School Violates Federal Law

Middle Schooler Getting First Grade Education?

BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- A Baltimore City mother was horrified to recently learn her seventh grade son has been receiving a first grade education.

Julie Gaskins’ son attends Garret Heights Elementary Middle in northeast Baltimore. He has an IEP, an Individualized Education Program for his disability. His school gets extra funding to help him. But this mom had always felt something was wrong. She was right.

Gaskins says her seventh grade son is reading and doing math at a first or second grade level.

She filed a complaint with the State Department of Education in August, and received a shocking response. The State concluded her son had the educational curriculum of a first grader and declared Garrett Heights in violation of state and federal law stating, “The student has not been provided with a Free Appropriate Public Education.”

“In one way it confirmed what I knew, but to see that in writing, I was infuriated,” says Gaskins. “These are supposed to be the experts, OK? These experts signed off an IEP for a first grade student.”

Gaskins went on to say, “to have this I don’t care attitude should be very alarming to the governor, the State and everybody in charge of Baltimore City Public Schools.”

The State ordered Garrett Heights to align the IEP to grade level, which it did. But Gaskins is still not happy.

“Our kids are so far behind and it shouldn’t be that way,” she says. “And if it’s happening to me, I can guarantee it’s happening to other students.”

Project Baltimore reached out to Baltimore City Public Schools, which said it cannot comment on a specific student’s IEP.

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