A New York father is taking on the local school district, filing a federal suit and planning a protest Wednesday night, because he says they won't enroll is 12-year-old Down syndrome son.
Christian Killoran accused the Westhampton Beach School District on Long Island of "stonewalling" him for two years after he initially inquired about where his son Aiden would be placed after his elementary school graduation. But the angry father, who is an attorney with a local practice, says he never got a straight answer, and now the boy is ready to move on to the seventh grade but the public middle school won't take him.
"I believe it's administrative expedience," Killoran told FoxNews.com. "They don't want the hassle of dealing with a student with special needs."
"They don't want the hassle of dealing with a student with special needs."
- Christian Killoran, father of boy with Down syndrome
Aiden wants to continue his educational journey with the friends and classmates he made at Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School. District officials said the boy could repeat the sixth grade at that school, but Killoran took them to court instead of taking their offer.
"It's not the distance, it's my son losing the relationships he formed during the past nine years," said Killoran, who filed a federal lawsuit in August, charging that the middle school is obligated to accommodate his son's special-education needs.
"Westhampton Beach simply does not want any severely impaired children," he said in the complaint. "They never -- in their history -- had to educate a student with special needs."
The district's school year begins Wednesday, and while Aiden may not be in class, his father vowed to be outside the school on the public sidewalk to bring attention to the issue. He said he has no intention of disrupting the students at the school, but wants to be heard.
A Facebook page called "Support for Aiden-Greater WHB-We Want Aiden-Integrate Not Segregate," says the protest will last from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and attendees will be given a T-shirt and coffee.
The school district referred FoxNews.com to its public relations firm. Earlier, Superintendent Michael R. Radday declined to comment to Newsday, citing pending litigation.
Suzanne Mensch, a Westhampton Beach Board of Education member, wrote a letter to the editor in the Aug. 13 Westhampton Beach Press, criticizing the Killoran's "repeated public effort to bully" the district. She said the district of 1,800 students only offers the special programming in elementary school.
"On July 22, the superintendent of Remsenburg notified Westhampton Beach that a resolution had been reached that did not involve Westhampton Beach and that the child would be attending Remsenburg-Speonk for the 2015-16 school year," the letter states. "Why would the Killorans willingly enter into such an agreement with Remsenburg-Speonk and then threaten legal action about the placement they agreed to."
Killoran said no such agreement was ever made, but the Remsenburg school did offer to educate his son if unable to attend Westhampton.
Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.