School board plans to add more cameras and staff but advocates for special needs students still not satisfied

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After separate incidents involving the mistreatment of special needs students in Fayette County schools led to the recent firing of two educators, the Fayette County School Board is telling parents it never wants to see this happen again.

Recent footage from a security camera at Lexington’s Tate’s Creek Middle School gained some national attention after it showed a special needs student being dragged through the halls of his school by a teacher.

Jo Grayson, whose son Thatcher is the boy seen in the viral video, says her family is still seeing the effects of the incident.

“My son is afraid that someone might hurt him. I don’t want him to feel that way. I want him to feel safe,” Grayson said.

At a board meeting Monday, school officials worked to develop solutions to the concerns of parents like Grayson. The school board plans to install more surveillance cameras in classrooms, hire additional staff and create special classrooms for students with autism, among other things.

But advocates for special needs students say that the school board’s plans might not be the best solutions to their problem.

Winter Sherman says that as someone who has autism, she knows what those students are going through. As a member of the Autistic Society of the Bluegrass, she wants to see an autistic student advisory council give input on any proposed changes to Fayette County schools.

“I think it’s very important to have autistic self-advocates be a part of that conversation,” Sherman said. “They can have all the professional training in the world but they need to meet us.”

Grayson said that the organization plans to host an educational panel featuring advocates for special needs students, lawmakers and doctors. The Autistic Society of the Bluegrass wants that to happen toward the beginning of December.