A Louisiana school board has sued the parents of a girl with special needs, alleging that the device a doctor prescribed for her to use violates the privacy of teachers and other children in her school, Baton Rouge’s WBRZ-TV reports.
Ashley Kellett is the mother of Peyton, who has Down Syndrome. Among other difficulties that the young lady faces, she has been known to run away from her house. To that end, the girl’s doctors prescribed her a device called AngelSense.
According to the device manufacturer’s website, the device is intended for special needs children who may be at risk of elopement. Further, it has an alarm that will go off when a caretaker activates it — for example, if the child is lost in a crowd. It also has GPS tracking in case the child wanders off, monitors the speeds of the school bus the child is on, and has a two-way communications feature — including a microphone and a speaker — so that a caretaker can speak to the child remotely, should they require it.
It’s that two-way communications feature that the Livingston Parish School Board appears to have an issue with. The district alleges that the device’s feature could be used to intercept private communications between other children, between children and adults, and between adults.
The district sent a deputy to the Kelletts’ home on Friday to serve them with a lawsuit, demanding that Peyton’s parents stop sending her to school with the device. The district also issued the Kelletts a so-called “gag order,” ostensibly preventing them from talking about it.
“I’m disappointed. I’m so utterly disappointed in the level of corruption and their integrity and character. Their focus has become on me and not her,” Kellett said of the school board.
She also finds the school district’s sudden interest in student privacy rather flimsy, considering that the district had recently made the news after a teacher allegedly photographed students eating snacks purportedly contaminated with semen.
It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between the Kelletts and the school district over her daughter’s care. Months ago, Kellett says she learned that the school district was not following her daughter’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). When Kellett complained about it, the girl was referred to a program for “at-risk” youth. And when the mother took her complaints to the media, the school district suddenly started following the plan.
The school district said in a statement that repeated attempts to work out a solution to the Kelletts’ problems with them have been met with “resistance and hostile threats,” and declined to elaborate further because the matter is one involving pending litigation.