Parents ask Fayette schools to transport medically fragile children

Addison Jones, 9, left, and Danielle Crenshaw, 7, took part in activities at Kidz Club on Regency Road in Lexington.
Addison Jones, 9, left, and Danielle Crenshaw, 7, took part in activities at Kidz Club on Regency Road in Lexington.

Kidz Club on Regency Road in Lexington is a medical daycare for children with complex conditions that offers before and after school programs and, some parents say, is the only option they have for their medically fragile children.

Parents say that the Fayette County Public Schools district doesn’t offer enough transportation options to school children with disabilities in Lexington who go to Kidz Club while offering a myriad of services and extra curricular activities to able-bodied students.

“All able-bodied children have numerous choices and access to extracurricular activities and afterschool programs,” said Mandy Jones, a parent whose daughter Addison has multiple severe disabilities and attends Southern Elementary School.

“Children that attend gifted and talented or co-op programs are provided transportation from satellite locations," Jones told school board members last week. "Why is my child not given the same provision?”

Jones said the district only provided transportation between Southern Elementary and Kidz Club in the 2015-16 school year for her daughter after she hired an attorney.

District officials said in a memo recently given to parents that, this fall, in light of the school district’s rezoning efforts, officials will only transport children who receive special services in a classroom for students with moderate and severe disabilities between Glendover Elementary School and Morton Middle School and Kidz Club, because those are the schools that service Kidz Club’s address.

In the 2017-18 school year, the memo said middle school transportation will only be provided between Jessie Clark Middle School and Kidz Club because that will be the school that services the Kidz Club address under redistricting.

The district said elementary school children in other schools who go to Kidz Club can transfer to Glendover, but parents said at the July 25 school board meeting said they want their children to stay at their assigned schools.

Jones said she thought her child “had every right” to continue to attend Southern Elementary where she has been a student for four years and still get transportation to Kidz Club.

“We don't want to transfer her out,” said Jones.

In the 2015-16 school year, the school district also provided transportation between Stonewall Elementary and Kidz Club.

“Kidz Club is the only place that we can get what we need,” said Darnell Crenshaw, a parent whose daughter Danielle has spinal bifida and attends Liberty Elementary School.

“She gets her physical therapy, her medication” and help with catheterization in one place, he said.

“No after school day care can do what the Kidz Club does,” by providing registered nurses, Crenshaw said.

He said family members are currently transporting his daughter to Kidz Club, but it is difficult to find consistent transportation every school day.

“We are looking for an every day solution,” Crenshaw said.

He said if Fayette school buses can take football and basketball players to other counties for games, “why can't you help my kid achieve what she needs to achieve in terms of medical services?”

Tammy Vice, site director of nursing at Kidz Club in Lexington, said Kidz Club officials are willing to pick children up at their homes and take them home in the evening if the school district will transport children between their public schools and Kidz Club.

“We just need transportation for them to and from the Kidz Club,” Vice said.

“Families should not have to deal with challenges from their own school system,” she told school board members. “We need to bridge that gap and work together to ensure equity and inclusion for all children.”

“We just want what’s best for the kids, their medical care and day care,” Dani Rodgers, Kidz Club community relations coordinator told the Herald-Leader.

Costs for Kidz Club is covered by Medicaid, the health benefits program for the disabled, Vice said.

At the July 25 meeting, school board member Doug Barnett asked Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk to meet with officials of Kidz Club.

Caulk told Barnett at the school board meeting that he would involve district transportation officials.

Caulk said the school board had just heard one side of the issue from the concerned parents and Kidz Club officials.

“There needs to be a spirit of cooperation, a spirit of collaboration, a spirit to reach an accord,” Caulk said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears