About 20 parents of Hilton Elementary kindergarten students were at Monday night's Brighton Board of Education meeting to complain to the board that their children in one particular classroom were afraid to go to school because of a disruptive student.

The parents told the board that their kids — whose classroom is called the “mouse room” — were constantly in fear because of one particular student who expresses his anger by throwing items such as chairs, books and shoes, adding that he even punched one child in the face.

The parents' group stated the class has had to be evacuated many times this fall because of the out-of-control student. Parent Ross Gemuend told the board that in one incident, both a teacher and student were hit by a chair, and the teacher was injured, although it apparently was not serious. Parent Ross Gemuend told the board that their kids “have a right to a safe learning environment,” and the unruly student should be removed from the classroom and placed in an environment that protects both him and those around him.

Superintendent Greg Gray later told WHMI that due to students’ privacy rights he wasn’t at liberty to discuss the incident. However, speaking in general terms about such cases, Gray said, “We collect the data and make the best recommendations we can for (all of) the students’ safety.

Gray also said in cases of a student’s disruptive behavior, “an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) team meets with the parents, data is collected, and a determination is made about the IEP plan for that student.” According to the concerned parents’ group, a para-professional has been assigned to the student, but add that so far it hasn’t stopped the incidents from recurring

One parent told the board that her child no longer wants to attend the school because of the incidents and she wants to be home-schooled. The parents have asked that the student in question be removed from the classroom, one parent estimating that the class has lost seven hours of instructional time this fall due to the evacuations and other disruptions caused by the student in question. The parents said that the school district has not communicated with them about any of the incidents and they have not been notified when any of the frequent evacuations have taken place.

Another parent said that is in stark contrast to an incident when a smoke alarm went off, the students were evacuated and parents were notified by the school immediately. After several parents had addressed the board, Board of Education President Andy Burchfield thanked the group for their input, assuring them the board would look into the matter and get back to them with a response. (TT)

Below is a statement issued by the parents' group following their appearance before the school board:
"Our objective for bringing this issue to the attention of the board of education is not to demonize the administration or the offending student, but to shed light on a law or policy that has unintended consequences. We only discovered this issue from our children and other parents sharing stories with incidents that their child had been directly impacted by. Our desired solution is that every parent is notified when a classroom is evacuated for any reason, to ensure that students that need additional help receive the help they need in a timely manner, and that appropriate resources are available so that special needs resources aren't removed from one student and given to another."