RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond mother is frightened to send her special needs child back to school because of an unresolved issue from last school year. She says her son's two front teeth were damaged, and she has not received an explanation as to how it happened.
"My thing is, you're supposed to be watching him, to know what happened to him," said Litisha Gillus.
Gillus is frustrated because she says back in June her son, 8-year-old Joshua Jones, came home from school with his two front teeth chipped. Joshua is a special needs student and minimally verbal. He could not tell her exactly what happened, so she sought answers from school officials.
"When we get in the meeting all they say is, 'I don't know.' The assistant principal, the principal, and the teacher ... all of them say they don't know what happened," Gillus said.
Administrators encouraged her to bring Joshua to J.L. Francis Elementary where he was a second grader, hoping he would be able to point out exactly where the incident happened, but that didn't help much.
"I said, 'Touch what you hurt your mouth on.' He touched the sliding board eventually, and then he touched the pole of the sliding board like to go up the steps, but I really don't know," Gillus said.
"My thing is you're supposed to be watching him to know what happened to him," Gillus said.
School officials say they looked into this, even asking the school bus driver if anything happened on the bus that could have injured the child. However, their probe turned up nothing.
A spokesperson said in part:
"I brush his teeth every night and every morning like I would have noticed that his teeth being broken," Gillus said.
She has three children at J.L. Francis and is concerned about sending them back for the upcoming year with this looming overhead.
The Virginia Department of Education says if a parent believes a school has not provided a safe and secure environment for a student with disabilities, the parent may file a complaint with the department. That complaint has to be in writing and submitted within a year of the incident.
Gillus says she plans to file a complaint and hopefully get to the bottom of this.
"You have special needs kids. You're supposed to watch them, not just let them be all over the place, and you don't know what's going on," Gillus said.
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