Sanger mom fights school district to keep special needs child at school of choice

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Lauren is now hoping to keep him in that successful environment at his home school of Jackson Elementary in Sanger. (KFSN)

Little 5-Year-old Jax Luque has Down Syndrome.

But Jax still loves to dance, and he also loves learning new words.

His mom says when he's around other kids his age, especially those who don't have special needs, he thrives.

"He gets in line when he's supposed to get in line, he sits in a circle when he's supposed to sit in a circle," his mom Lauren Luque said. "Push in his chair with his friends, he's just following their lead and he really thrives on that."

Lauren is now hoping to keep him in that successful environment at his home school of Jackson Elementary in Sanger.

Sanger Unified officials, though, tell her that Jax would be better suited at Lincoln Elementary where all of the district's other students with Down Syndrome attend.

Now the two are at a standstill.

Lauren is upset over what she says are her son's rights to a free and least restrictive education.

She's put up these posters outside of her house, and the pictures, and her son's story, have been shared by nearly 5,000 people on Facebook.

Luque says the support has been amazing but it was also sad to hear from so many other parents experiencing the same fight.

"Why in 2016 are we still fighting so hard for our kids to be accepted and included at these public schools?" Lauren said.

In a statement to Action News, Sanger Unified Superintendent Michael Navo says:

"Even in situations where parents may disagree with the district as to what that entails for any particular child, we continue to work with our families to provide the best school experience for the children of our community, considering both parental input and sound professional judgment."

Lauren says her daughter is taking it hard because the family wants both children to attend school together.

"It's just important that she's there for him," she said. "That they go through this together you know she understands him she always wants to help him and always wants to be a sister to him."

For now, Jax and Maddie are enrolled in Jackson Elementary School.

Lauren hopes her family and the school district can come to an agreement sometime before August.
Related Topics:
educationdown syndromeeducationfresno countyspecial needs childrenSanger
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