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Del Mar Union School District parents upset with how students with special needs are allegedly mistreated

Parents told CBS 8 the district is denying their kids services and will stop at nothing to silence them, as they advocate for their children.

SAN DIEGO — On Wednesday night, a fight is brewing in the Del Mar Union School District, with parents of special needs children who are fed up with how their kids are being treated. 

Parents told CBS 8 that the district is denying their kids services and will stop at nothing to silence them, as they advocate for their children. 

Natalie R.’s son has gone to Ashley Falls Elementary since he was in kindergarten, in the Del Mar Union School District.

“At pickup, he would get in my car and cry that they were putting him out in the hallway in some place,” said Natalie. “He would say, ‘Mommy, I don't want to be alone. Why are they doing that?’”

She says for years she advocated for her son and asked the district for help and that he needed more services and the district kept denying him services. 

“It seems the more I ask for something, the more hostile they get,” said Natalie.

Now, she can’t get within 200-yards of her son’s school, or any elementary school in the district because of a restraining order.

CBS 8 spoke with her former attorney, Laura Farris, who said in her 30 years practicing law, she’s never seen a Restraining Order hearing like this. 

First, there was a temporary restraining order to keep her a 100-yards away from her son’s school. Then the district wanted another restraining order to keep her 200-yards away from all district schools.

She said the district had no evidence, no real witnesses, and no foundation for any of the accusations against her. She says they had numerous people to speak against Natalie, but they had no evidence to prove anything they said. And there was never any evidence of any threats or violence. 

Judge Richard Whitney ruled in the district’s favor.

Farris says the district made an example of Natalie and could happen if anyone would challenge them publicly. Farris says, now other parents are afraid to speak out.

Danielle Roybal agrees.

“You're looking at a community that's being silenced. Whenever a parent raises a concern about a child- they're either not getting services or they're not safe because they are a flight risk like my son, the district isn't providing the services,” said Roybal.

CBS 8 met with other moms of students with special needs, and they say Natalie is not alone.

“We’re very concerned that there’s going to be retaliation for speaking up and saying what’s actually going on,” said Maniza Sheiknji.

Sheiknji says the district sued her family for protesting their plan for her son. 

“It’s been a tremendous amount of work to where we are now,” said Sheiknji. “They haven’t given us enough support for him.” 

Late this afternoon she got a call back from the Director of Student Services.

CBS 8 reached out to the Del Mar Union School District for comment, and the Director of Student Services said the following:

“The district is legally allowed to sue a family for interfering with the district’s plan for a student. And parents have a right to a meeting to address any concerns,”

All the moms CBS 8 spoke with say they requested those meetings.

Natalie's son has just five weeks left in the district before he graduates.

“Help my son,” she said. “He is an innocent child here and he wants his mom to take him to school and he wants his mom to go to his 6th grade and wants his mom to be there for his graduation.”

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