School officials say they have no choice but to bar a hyperactive child from his third-grade class unless he takes a behavior-control drug, even though his mother says the medication sent the child out of control.
Valerie Jesson, describing the "rage and anger" her son exhibited on Ritalin, appealed Tuesday to a state Education Department hearing officer to allow him back into Derry Village School.Jesson said she took 9-year-old Casey off the controversial drug because of adverse physical and emotional side effects. "I literally felt I was losing control of my son," Jesson said. "I had a child who was controlling our lives. He was in the driver's seat."
But the lawyer for the school district said state law required the school to suspend Casey two weeks ago after his parents refused a treatment plan that included Ritalin or an alternative behavior-control medication.
"The school district has no option but to listen to the doctors' advice," said the lawyer, Gordon Graham. "There really is no option under the current state law."
The dispute centers on a 13-part "individual education plan" developed for Casey by Boston Children's Hospital. The Jessons said they object only to the portion of the program calling for Ritalin or a substitute drug.
Eric Falkenham, the hearing officer, said opposing lawyers were still scheduled to file legal briefs and he did not anticipate a decision for two or three weeks.