I-Team: Hearing master rules CCSD mishandled education of child with autism

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) —  A hearing master has ruled the Clark County School District violated procedures and mishandled a student’s education. The 9-year-old girl has autism and started fourth grade in 2019.

In early October, Gia Blessing’s parents and the Clark County School District went through a week-long due process hearing after her parents filed a complaint with the Department of Education.  Hearing master Jamie Resch, Esq. heard testimony from both sides. 

In an Oct. 29 decision, Resch wrote, “Student was substantively denied a free appropriate public education, independent of but also resulting from various procedural violations, during the 2018-2019 school year.”

Resch called out the school district for failing to update Gia’s records, failing to communicate with Blessing’s parents, and failing to follow her Individualized Education Plan. 

The I-Team first interviewed Gia Blessing’s family last May.  Her mother, Tania said because she does not trust the school district, she sent Gia to school with AngelSense which is a device that allows parents to listen in and track the student with GPS. CCSD contends this device violates privacy laws.

Blessing said the device allowed her to hear her daughter in distress while on a school bus. She believes Gia was abused. 

The hearing master referred to security video from the school bus which showed another student holding a sippy cup over Gia.  He said it was unclear whether Gia was hit with the cup.  However, he referred to testimony from a transportation director that the incident could constitute as bullying. 

Resch sided with CCSD and said the parents should not be allowed to use AngelSense while on school property.

He wrote, “Angel Sense is not required in order for the student to receive a free appropriate public education and using its communication features likely violates Nevada law, but student is entitled to a remedy to address health effects related to transportation.”

Resch referred to one witness who testified for the district as confused or evasive, and deemed the testimony to be not credible.  He ordered the district to in part, reformulate and follow the student’s education plan, and to provide compensatory education. He also ordered the district to ensure that a dedicated paraprofessional is added to Gia’s education plan. 

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