Brighton family wants to know why boy with Down Syndrome was put into a box while at school

Posted at 11:25 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 07:01:57-04

A Brighton family has filed two formal complaints against Brighton Area Schools, one claiming the district has violated their mentally challenged son's civil rights.

They want to know why he was put in a box at school.

It's not what the Rienks imagined for their son's education, and now they're filing a formal special education state complaint against Brighton Area Schools and the Livingston Educational Service Agency. The family is also filing a formal complaint with the federal office of civil rights.

They're accusing school teachers of putting their 11-year-old son Casey, who has Down Syndrome, in a box, not allowing him to be with other classmates at times at Hawkins Elementary.

They believe he was inside the box several times a day in a special education resource room, at times having to be coaxed out.

They were told in January it was for help with coping skills, and Casey being anxious.

They also disagree with another decision, school administrators deciding to remove him from general education and switch him to special education.

Brighton school leaders have met with the Rienks several times, hoping to work it out.

The complaint accuses the district of violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It claims Casey's education program has no measurable annual or short term goals, and there's no need for him to be in a center based program.

Brighton Area Schools says it's meeting its legal obligations with students.

We reached out for further comment, but haven't heard back.

The state department of education has 60 days from Tuesday to complete its investigation.