Flag Pole Parents -- The Sequel
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 29, 2002
CHEAT LAKE, WEST VIRGINIA -- Deb and Jason Lewis want their 9-year-old son, Tucker, to attend his local school, Cheat Lake Elementary School, so he can be with his friends and the other children in his neighborhood.
But Monongalia County Schools says Tucker must attend Mountainview Elementary School because the one at Cheat Lake does not have the facilities, staff or equipment to educate the boy who has cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Providing what is needed for Tucker at Cheat Lake would be too expensive, district officials say. Besides, six other students with similar disabilities are already being served at Mountainview, they add.
Tucker's parents have filed a complaint against the district and are schooling him at home until the district changes its position -- or is ordered to change its position.
On Monday, October 21, advocates from West Virginia ADAPT began helping the family, staging a demonstration by chaining themselves -- some in wheelchairs -- to the school's flagpole.
Tucker's family has set up the following Web site:
The Dominion Post is covering the protest, with new articles added each day:
Oct. 22: Unflagging Support
Oct. 23: Protesters Continue Flagpole Vigil at Cheat School
Oct. 24: Cheat Protesters Still Chained to Flagpole
Oct. 25: Cheat Lake Mom Debates Flagpole Protesters
Oct. 26: Protesters Vow: We're Not Going to be Run Out
Oct. 28: Protesters Continue Vigil at Teach
Oct. 29: Parents go to court over boy's school
The demonstration is similar to that staged for three weeks in 2000 by Deanna Lesneski, just across the state line in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Known by disability rights advocates as the "Flag Pole Mom", Lesneski strapped herself and her lawn chair to the flag pole in front of Blain-Buffalo Elementary School after school officials failed to provide what they had agreed her son, Max, needed.