Hayden's Fight For A Fair Education

As many of you know, our son Hayden is Autistic. Hayden is very passionate about reading and learning new things all the time, so when you see him, he usually has a book or two. He gets excited when it comes time to go to school or to after-school tutoring.

Autism affects every person diagnosed differently. The most noticeable way that Hayden has been affected is developmentally and socially. He has had developmental delays along with the inability to socialize or express how he feels at times. When he becomes frustrated he becomes very emotional and will breakdown. He experiences these difficulties primarily when he is in school among his peers.

With every school year comes new challenges. In the past Hayden has been very fortunate to have principals and teachers who were very compassionate and understanding of his needs. They have worked with him to make his days as normal as possible. There were plenty of times when he had emotional breakdowns and his teachers worked with him and us in order to calm him down and keep him in school. In the past when he was having a tough time, we would get a phone call so that we could speak to him and usually within a matter of minutes he was fine to go on with his day without further incident. If that did not work then one of us would go to the school to help calm him down so that he could continue on with his school day.

Last year his principal and teacher observed that Hayden had increasing difficulties being social. The school knew of his love for Legos, and with their help we set up a Lego club. The idea behind the club was to help him make friends that shared his same love for Legos and who were also experiencing social difficulties. Hayden was in charge of making the activity lists for what they would build during their meetings. This was a great outlet for him. Sadly, his principal from last year retired and now there is a new principal. With this new principal has come a new attitude. This attitude has seemed to rub off on the rest of the staff.

This year Hayden spends most of his lunch and recesses walking by himself or in a corner reading a book when the Lego club is not meeting. He has made attempts to join other clubs at school but has communicated with us that he gets ignored. He also states that he is being picked on. Now when there are incidents, we still get phone calls but they are not the calls that we used to receive. Now the phone calls are to pick him up from school because he is being suspended. There is no longer compassion or understanding as what is going on with him and how he may be feeling. We have been told that he is the root of the problem and he is responsible for why he is being picked on or why he has an emotional breakdown. There is no longer an effort to diffuse the situation. He automatically has a finger pointed at him and told he needs to leave school. This past month alone he has missed 10 days due to unjust suspensions.

Hayden has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place. This outlines how he is to be handled in certain situations due to his disabilities. By law they are required to follow this plan. The opposite is taking place. The IEP seems to be ignored as if it does not exist.

We have been in talks with an attorney for injustice that he has been experiencing. This attorney specializes in fighting for the rights of children with Autism. It has been a long, grueling process and in order for us to be able to move any further in the process we need to be able provide a sizeable retainer. This is where we are asking for your help. We are attempting to fundraise money for the fight. Any amount would be more than greatly appreciated. Fight for Hayden and for all of children with disabilities to have the right to a fair and appropriate education.

Thank you,
The Barcia-Lajara Family

P.S. Please share and forward this to all your family & friends.
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James A. Barcia 
San Jose, CA
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