Mom questions policy after school dance controversy

As plans for a homecoming dance take place at a Marion County high school, some students won’t be allowed to go, because of a low GPA. One mother says the school should make an exception for students with learning disabilities.

"She sent me a text telling me she can’t go to homecoming because her GPA is not high enough," explains Denise Lammardo.

She says she felt bad for her daughter, Olivia, who attends Forest High School, despite her learning disability. She says she asked Olivia's teacher why they couldn't make an exception, since that disability is on file at the school.

"She said that’s the guidelines they gave us, and they don’t make an exception for students with learning disabilities."

We went to the Marion County School Disrict for answers regarding activities after school.

"Typically with GPAs, when it comes to high school activities, students have to have a 2.0," says district spokesperson Kevin Christian.

However, if a student with learning disabilities has worked hard and followed their Individualized Education Program, or IEP, administrators say special consideration could be made if a GPA isn’t high enough.

"The question really is, have they taken advantage of all the services afforded to them. If they have done so, and their GPA still isn’t up to where it should be, I think that’s an exception that the high school would look at," Christian adds. 

Christian says parents should seek clarity, if they are unsure what is in their child’s IEP.  Lammardo says the school ended up inviting her daughter to homecoming, after looking at her file.

"Guidelines are put into place. They’re needed, but there has to be an exception."

She hopes other students with disabilities will also question their school if they're not allowed to participate. She says something needs to change.

"A lot of people think it’s just a dance. But it’s really not just a dance. Socialization is big thing for children."

The homecoming dance takes place on October 5.