Family fighting school system for mentally ill child seeks help from WUSA9

A Montgomery County family is fighting the school system for a 7-year-old with mental illness.

SILVER SPRING, MD (WUSA9) - A family is fighting the Montgomery County School system for their mentally ill child and they turned to WUSA9 for help.

Doctor's diagnosed 7-year-old Wilson Mickens with ADHD, anxiety, and disruptive mood disorder. 

The family feels instead of dealing with his special needs, the school keeps suspending him and turning the family away.

“I love this child, he needs help,” cried Debra Campbell. 

She is trying to save her grandson Wilson gripped by mental illness but she feels like the Montgomery County School department is ignoring her pleas.

RELATED: Maryland bill limits school suspensions for its youngest students

He is in the 2nd grade at Kemp Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring. He takes medication but still acts out in class and can sometimes be violent towards the teachers. Campbell said her grandson has been suspended five times.  

“He’s just a kid with mental illness,” she said, “He can’t control what he’s doing. They (the mentally ill) are in the grips with this illness this disorder and they are crying out inside ‘I don’t want to do this’ but they don’t know how to stop.” 

Campbell feels like the principal keeps suspending her grandson because “they don’t want to deal with it, they’d rather get him out of the building.”  

The family has a 504 Plan with the school. That means, by law, they must offer counseling and special accommodations, but they want more. 

They want a more one-on-one, special education in an Individual Education Plan. Campbell said they’ve been trying to get an IEP since January.  

Hours after WUSA9 started making calls, Campbell said school leaders called them and asked for a meeting Tuesday. 

“He’s trying to resolve this before it gets to this point, but he can’t do it alone. This is an issue for the Board of Education for Montgomery County.” 

She is fighting so hard because she’s been down this road before. 

“My son needed help, he didn’t get it and he’s been in jail five times in this county. No one pays attention to mental illness until some kid brings a gun to school and starts shooting up other kids and teachers. Why don’t we address it before it gets there? I pray and cry every night hoping something will be different, just so something can change, just so someone can say ‘here let me help you,” she cried.

Wilson is currently under mental evaluation at Children’s Medical Center in D.C.  He will likely be there for seven days. The family plans to meet with school leaders Tuesday.

After numerous attempt to get comment from the school department for the story, a spokesperson finally responded just before 5:30 p.m. with the following email:

“MCPS is committed to supporting all students.  When a student is referred for special education services by the parent / guardian or a school based staff member, an IEP team reviews all existing data and if appropriate, conducts evaluations in order to determine if the student qualifies for specialized instruction.   If the student is found eligible for special education services, an IEP team including parents / guardians develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Through the implementation of the IEP, students with disabilities are provided services based on their areas of need.”  

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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