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updated: 4/4/2013 11:20 AM

Parents of student with autism sue St. Charles D303 over treatment

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A couple has sued St. Charles School District 303, arguing their 18-year-old autistic son was retaliated against after they pushed to have him included in advanced classes at St. Charles North High School during the 2011-12 school year.

Sandra and Bogdan Stanek of St. Charles seek $900,000 in damages for infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and want a judge to hear their case after a hearing officer dismissed it last November, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Kane County.

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"We want to be able to present our case and receive justice," said Sandra Stanek of her son, who is a senior this year and doing much better in his classes. "I'm hoping to prevent this from happening to anyone in the future. What happened to my son, I would not want to happen to anyone else. It is a concern to the public as well."

District spokesman Jim Blaney said Wednesday it was not immediately clear whether the district had been served with the lawsuit. But even if the district had been served, its policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit names the district, Superintendent Donald Schlomann, four administrators and five teachers as defendants.

The suit asks for a judge to hear arguments from the Staneks after they were denied a due process hearing in November 2012. The suit also argues that teachers retaliated against the Staneks' son during the 2011-2012 school year after the parents pushed for special accommodations for him in advanced classes for math, psychology and Spanish classes.

The retaliation, according to the lawsuit, was teachers entering wrong grades for him, docking him points on assignments, and the district denying the Staneks' request to have input into their son's Individual Education Program, which is standard for students with special needs. The suit argues the student was denied his right to an equal education and seeks damages for what it characterized as a "hostile environment."

"When the parents complained about (their son) receiving lower grades for not meeting the timelines, his teachers retaliated by entering wrong grades and lowering his grades even when he met deadlines. These kinds of retaliatory actions caused extreme anxiety and emotional distress to the student who constantly lived in fear for failing the class or receiving bad grades."

Both sides are due in court June 20 for an initial hearing before Judge Edward Schreiber.

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