YUBA CITY, CA (KXTV) - The mother of a student with severe autism and
diabetes said the school is putting her son at risk by not allowing a
private duty nurse to accompany her son on campus.
"This can kill him," Heather Houston said.
Houston's son David Swanson, 21, is autistic. He's non-verbal and
communicates through an iPad, which he's not allowed to use at school,
and by making sounds only those who know him understand.
Complicating matters, Swanson also has diabetes and can have a seizure if his blood-sugar level gets too low.
"It's too just dangerous to not have someone, not just trained in his
diabetes to give him a shot, but trained in his communication," Houston
That's why sent she sent Swanson on his first day of school with a
private duty nurse. He goes to school in the portable classrooms behind
the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools administrative office.
"She's been with him for five years. She was an employee of [ the
school district]," Houston said. "And she knows his non-verbal
However, school officials turned both Swanson and the nurse away.
According to Houston, it's because she refuses to sign the SCSOS's
medical release form, which would allow the district's school nurse to
communicate with Swanson's doctor and care for him.
However, the waiver plainly reads, "refusing to sign this
authorization will not affect the LEA's commitment to providing a
quality education for my child."
The California Department of Education's site also shows that private nurses can administer insulin in school.
Superintendent Bill Cornelius said he can't comment on Swanson's
situation because of confidentiality rules. He said the safety and
well-being of students is a top priority and denies any discrimination.
Houston said the school has also discriminated against her son by not allowing Swanson to use his iPad in the classroom.
"He has a right to speak and communicate," Houston said. "It's like putting duct tape on his mouth."
Houston has filed complaints with both the state and federal departments of education.
She is also pursuing a discrimination lawsuit and has also created a Facebook page called "Don't Discriminate Against David."
"Their job as an educator, they should care about his unique needs,
his education," Houston added. "But it's not about David. It's not been
about him for a long time."
Houston said she plans on attending school with Swanson on Friday.
She also has an Individualized Education Program hearing on Monday.