Mothers Arrested For Trespassing At Staff Meeting
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 21, 2002
WESTON, FLORIDA--Two mothers are facing charges after they tried to confront staff members at the school that they say has failed to meet their children's needs.
Officials of Chancellor Charter School at Weston say the women, whose children have disabilities, had to be removed from school property after coming into a staff-only meeting Friday.
Nancy Jastrzebski, 47, faces charges of trespassing, resisting arrest without violence and disruption of a school function. Erin Larkin, 39, faces one count of battery on a law enforcement officer/school employee and obstruction of justice, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Jastrzebski said she tried to attend the special education meeting in order to get help for her 9-year-old son. She explained school officials are to notify her of such meetings as part of her legal agreement with the district.
School district officials said that they notified Jastrzebski that the meeting was not open to parents or the public.
She showed up anyway, and when she refused to leave, district staff called police to arrest her. As Jastrzebski was handcuffed in the school parking lot, Larkin struck one of the officers on the hand, a district spokesman said.
Jastrzebski and Larkin say the arrests were in retaliation for complaints they have filed against the district. Both women have been battling Chancellor Charter School for more than a year and are suing the district for failing to serve their children's needs. At least one other parent has also filed a formal complaint against the school, and at least eight other parents have pulled their children out of the school stating concerns that the school is unsafe, undisciplined and disorganized.
"I was trying to be educated for my son," Jastrzebski said later. "This is terrible."
Joe Melita, head of the Broward school district's special investigative unit, said, "It's unfortunate. We tried to be diplomatic as possible."