By Nigel Boys
After several attempts to find out what was going on with his autistic son’s education at a district school in Poudre, Colorado, attorney Ephraim Starr, decided to file a lawsuit to get to the bottom of the problem. He wanted to know why the school refused to issue his son Isaac’s complete records.
Although the school told the Starrs that they would provide the necessary facilities for their child, the parents believed that the school did not want to spend the necessary money that would provide for their son’s special needs.
When the school was not forthcoming to Starr about the progress of his son, after he had noticed that he was not going forward with his learning, in fact, he seemed to be going backwards, the concerned father dug deeper into the root of the problem.
What Starr allegedly learned was that apparently most of the records of his son had been purposely deleted on the orders of Sarah Belleau, the director of integrated services for the school district. According to the concerned father, he further learned that staff at the school had been using code names for his family, while openly ridiculing his concern for his child.
Eventually the worried father received proof of the shenanigans and deliberate hiding of facts that the school had been involved with in a copy of an email he received that had been sent by Belleau to staff at the school.
Belleau’s email reportedly reads: “Please ask all involved staff to delete AND destroy any email or paper records related to this family. … The reason is to protect against an Open Records Request.”
Upon receipt of this information, the Starr’s decided to take the matter to court, which resulted in them finding more out about the complete disregard for their son’s welfare the staff at the school had showed.
Some of the correspondence between the staff at the school was very hurtful to the Starr family. In one email, a staff member had mocked the fact that Isaac Starr might forget how to count to 20 and the father was driving them crazy with requests for special services for their child.
While the court did not find the school legally guilty of anything, the judge ordered the district to pay some of the Starr’s legal costs. However, while Belleau was not disciplined by the district, special education coordinator, Gloria Horhein was terminated from her employment.