Sunday, January 10, 2010

Abused and Refused: Zakhqurey Price denied rights under IDEA

UPDATE Jan 11:  Please jump straight to the comments and read the entry by Wampus, my lovely and never-sucessfully-sued-for-cause retired Special Ed Teacher and wife, in regard to standards of confidentiality, labeling and provision of services.

Bump and Update: January 10: Compiled from comments and any other sources I can find.

One of the most interesting developments is that the story on local news channel 5 has been deleted, along with all discussion; I assume that to be in part due to this information being leaked/circulated by the reporter.

This was posted all over the place by Zakh's grandma.

Zakh's grandma here

Hello everyone,
There is a VICIOUS email be sent to thousands by a prominent LOCAL TV REPORTER that is full of lies. He posted it before talking with me....and when he DID talk to me tonight he didn't mention his bulk email blitz against me!
Here it is:
Good ol boy is alive and well!
Please pass along to everyone!
Subject: Email from Darren Bob
Greetings.. I'm wondering how much you have looked into this. I have very
reliable sources that tell me this child has never been diagnosed with Autism.
The Grandmother who is taking care of the child wants a diagnosis, but can find
noone who will do that. In fact, the child HAS BEEN diagnosed as oppositional
defiant .. and that he has been in the juvenile court system for the past three
years because of his behavior. He's only been at this particular school for
three months. I understand there is going to be a court hearing on this
situation next week sometime ( still trying to track that down ) in which I'm
sure more > details will come out.>> That's it .. that's all I know .. hope you
can help me with more info..!!>>>> Daren Bobb> KFSM TV-5> Fort Smith, Ark.>
Then the story vanished from Channel 5 (no results for any query related to Zach from internal search at all) and the associated discussion was deleted. Mind you, it's rather clear which way it was headed, according to the truncated image Google has of it. It started hateful and went downhill from there.

The deletion didn't go over well with one user, who protested. That TOO was deleted - but after Google had indexed it. Here's the Google Cache link.

My Google-Fu is failing me at the moment; I can't seem to find a cache of the original story. Please drop a comment if you have a link. 

At any rate, the email seems to raise some important questions for me. Darren Bob's "Very Reliable Sources." You see, the "source" would have to have access to Zachs Special Ed folder, unless, of course Darren Bobb was just making stuff up, or accepting the word of someone who was making stuff up.

Disclosing information from that folder to anyone who does not have direct involvement - parents and persons directly providing services to the child - is very freaking illegal. 

So Darren Bob is doing something that is apparently illegal, unethical or incompetent. This is aside from the journalistic ethics issues centering around the idea of taking part in such a dispute.

Any single one of those issues is a "please clear out your desk, security will see you to the door" issue at a reputable media outlet. Of course, Darrin Bobb was formerly a  host on a Clear-Channel radio station; it's quite possible he's unfamiliar with the standards of journalistic objectivity I was taught in college. (Or I could just be exhibiting my own bias - but the sin ain't having one, it's pretending you don't have one.)

Fort Smith Radio Host Headed to KFSM

This from an e-mailer: "KWHN-AM morning host Darren Bobb is headed to KFSM-TV. The following job posting came from KWHN Program Director Gary Elmore (his partner on "Arklahoma AM")

We have a rare opening at KWHN as our current co-host has gone on to become anchor and managing editor for the CBS TV affiliate in town.
Therefore, Clear Channel Fort Smith, Arkansas is looking for a Morning co-host for our top rated news talk station, KWHN. Duties also include Assistant PD, remote broadcasts, and commercial production, plus. If you are a team player, please send demo, references and resume to

Clear Channel Radio is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Looks like he'll slide alongside Bridget at 5, 6, and 10."

Still, one would expect some modification or restatement of the story. Instead, we see a rather inept cover-up, from which observers can and will no doubt derive their own conclusions regarding media and morality in Arkansas.

This You tube video was created and submitted by user ksol1460

This video contains clips from Carole Reynold's Blogtalkradio article.

Legal council has been found but we are still short of the $5000 required for the retainer.

Zakh Price Legal Trust Fund, C/O Niswanger Law Firm, #5 Innwood Circle, Suite 110, Little Rock, Arkansas 72211

Updated Ends;

This is sort of an urgent situation - more urgent than I'd realized - so I'm cobbling it together from other sources.

A Sad Story, and a Call to Action
If you listen to anything autism- or disability- related today, listen to this interview with Carole Reynolds, whose 11-year old autistic grandson Zakhquerey Price is facing felony charges for allegedly injuring two staff members at Beard Elementary (Fort Smith, AK) while said staff members were trying to restrain him.
Zakh's story is really heartbreaking, and demonstrates so many problems with public education, the system of mental institutionalization, and criminal justice system.
Zakh has already faced years of forced institutionalization, including during a period in which he and his family mourn the loss of his sister. Now, he faces criminal charges without adequate legal representation. His family cannot afford a private lawyer, and the public defender assigned to his case does not know much about autism. With the current situation, there is a strong chance that Zakh will be institutionalized against the will of his familyagain. Zakh has already faced years of institutionalization due to a school system which wants to not educate him. He has also been institutionalized during a period in which he and his family are mourning for his younger sister, who died during his period of incarceration in mental institutions.
What can we do to help?
You can donate to Zakh's family so that they might obtain adequate legal representation.
You can contact media outlets about this situation.
You can join the Facebook group to follow the situation and see what else we can do to help Zakh and his family.
This is urgent. Zakh's case is on January 12.

Comments threads over at Autism Women's Network indicate that the Fort Smith Community Of People Who Are In Charge And Who Know Better Than You Do are discomfited by the sudden attention.

More on this over here.

From what I can see so far, it appears that a small town school does not know how to comply with the laws requiring them to provide a "Free And Appropriate Education." And rather than find out, they have apparently done things that at the very least raise the issue that they may have been abusing the Medicaid system.  I'd want to know if shuffling kids off the Special Ed budget and onto the Medicaid budget was a common practice. I mean, aside from the involuntary detainment aspects. Those are merely questions of civil, human and family rights, and there is that well-known "autism" exception to the Constitution.

Oh, wait.

(Note: corrected a misunderstanding on my part that Zakh had been incarcerated on the Medicare dime when it was apparently Medicaid-funded. I can never keep those two straight in my head...)


Anonymous said...

Thanks, guys. Pass this around as well if you can:

Buglock said...

Great article. We have been asking people to vote and comment on his youtube video linked above to show support.

here is is a volunteer site compiling all of the media coverage and updates as they come in via his facebook group replies.

thank you

Wampus said...

This case is amazing in so many ways. I was a special ed. teacher for 20 years... basically from its inception, in the U.S. any way. It's an odd beast, special ed. It is entirely based upon legal action. It began when 10 moms of children with Down's Syndrome wanted their kids to be allowed to go to school... they sued for the right, and won. A bazillion law suits later, we have special ed, as it is known in the U.S. Virtually every development of special ed policy, procedure, ideaology, etc, has been a result of legal action.

That being said, this case shows so many abuses... sigh...

The standard of confidentiality in regards to a special ed. student and information about them is as strict as that of a medical dr's... so some reporter having access to that information is unbelievable! The child, the guardians, are supposed to have absolute control over who has access to that information. Within the school setting, the special ed. teacher is supposed to guard that information. Only personel who provide DIRECT services to the student are to be given information regarding that student. And THEY are to log in, so as to keep a record of who knows what, when... One simply does not have casual conversation regarding these issues... In fact, in order for a school to get a special ed. file (if a student moves, for example) they must obtain written permission from the guardian. And the 'sending school' cannot even confirm whether or not a particular child IS classified as special ed, without this written document.

Now, the excuse that this child has only been in the school for 3 months, as reason for denying appropriate services is INSANE. When a student moves to a new school, that school has (legally speaking) ZERO time to implement a "temporary" IEP, and 30 calendar days to complete any needed information gathering, WHILE providing services to the student, at which point (within 30 calendar days) they must hold a full, complete IEP, and provide the services determined by that IEP immediately. "Waiting" is failure to provide a free appropriate public education, and is a huge NO NO.

Now, as to the idea that this child's label matters... whether or not he has been diagnosed with this or that or nothing at all, completely irrelevant as far as schooling goes. Diagnoses are medical. They may or may not effect school stuff. The label the school has for him (0/d i think?) is also irrelevant! The point to labeling a child in school is only for the purpose of obtaining funding. It in NO way affects the placement or services the school provides. Once a child is deemed to be 'disabled'... once they have a label (ANY label).... the IEP process determines... FIRST what are the needs of this child... SECOND what supports does the child NEED to have success in the realm of school... (academic, social, behavioral, yadda yadda... all around success) Third, how are we going to provide that support... fourth, what else can we do to be of help (related services) and LAST... based upon the needs and the plan for meeting those needs... WHERE will we provide those supports....

None of this is determined by the label, OR by the cost, OR by what's available at the school... that's all details to be hashed out later...

So, this school appears to have it wrong in every possible way!


it makes me tired.

Sheepdog said...

God Bless you Zak and Zak's Awesome grandma..
I will spread the word the best I can.

Thanks Bob King, keep up the good work.You have Goodness and TRUTH on your side.


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