‘A uncommon and particular factor’: Oliver was capable of return to public college after three years in a personal particular ed placement. Why is his story so uncommon? | Schooling

A new beginning with challengesOliver returned to Roanoke County public school on the Monday after the spring break. His mother said the first three days went well, but by Thursday Oliver was overwhelmed.

At Hidden Valley Middle School, students with autism de-escalate and take a break from the classroom in a padded wrestling room. But the door is locked. Daphne said Oliver was excited and when his teacher tried to unlock the door he slammed it.

He was suspended and sent home from school.

Daphne was out of town at the time and her husband couldn’t get away from work right away. When he got there, Oliver was back in his classroom having lunch with the other students and had calmed down. But he still had to be sent home for three days.

When she heard what had happened, Daphne said she couldn’t help but think, “Here we go again.”

Roanoke County has the same standards for special education students as other students – that is, if Oliver acts aggressively, he will be suspended.

According to the county code of conduct for students, students with disabilities must “follow regular disciplinary procedures”.

His mother said this wasn’t an effective strategy for Oliver, who doesn’t understand that staying home from school is a punishment for bad behavior, especially since he returned to the classroom afterward. Instead, she thinks Oliver needs to learn that he is not going home and learn to regulate himself so he can stay with his classmates.


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