The Warsaw School District has backed down from its unreasonable attempt to deny a local family access to the Missouri Virtual Academy (MOVA).
After the Warsaw School District initially approved and then attempted to rescind approval for a family interested in enrolling their daughter at MOVA, the Justason family retained a lawyer to help secure their daughter’s rights.
Following a letter from the Justason’s legal counsel, the Warsaw School District agreed to drop its attempt to block access to MOVA.
“After a long summer of back and forth with the District, we wanted nothing more than for our daughter’s right to attend MOVA – a legally available public school option – to be secured, ,” Shelley Justason said. “Our daughter has had a wonderful start to the school year with MOVA. I hope that by standing up to the school district – and demanding access to school choice – we can inspire others here in Missouri and nationwide to fight back against the bureaucrats who think they know better than parents what’s best for our kids.”
PSO Board President Colleen Cook said:
“This is another huge victory for the families of Missouri. Any time a school district attempts to block a family from accessing their lawful school options, the National Coalition for Public School Options will stand and fight back. Districts in Missouri are on notice that we will not allow one family to be denied access to their rightful options.”
Family Sends Warsaw School District Letter Demanding Answers on Virtual School Access
An Edwards, Missouri, Family delivered a letter from their legal representation to the Warsaw School District on Friday demanding that district drop its intimidation campaign aimed at keeping their daughter out the Missouri Virtual Academy (MOVA).
“I think all parties involved will agree that it is in the best educational interest of the [daughter] to participate in an online program.” the letter states. “And yet, the District is seeking to undermine what the parents have determined, after consultation with Minor’s multiple physicians, to be in her best interest … the attempt to intimidate the parents into ‘accepting’ fueleducation or enrollment in regular classes (whether by suggesting an alternative would involve lawyers, or by treating the Minor’s absence from school as “unexcused” thus prompting daily truancy warnings to the Parents) goes well beyond that…such intimidation shall cease immediately.”
The most recent example of bureaucratic malfeasance begins with an incoming 2nd grader who suffers from multiple medical issues. For safety and educational reasons, her parents decided virtual school would be her best school choice option. Their application to MOVA was initially approved by the Warsaw School District on June 17th. However, on July 26th the decision was reversed inexplicably, leaving the Justason family without the previously approved, desirable, and medically prudent option for their daughter. After some emails were exchanged back and forth between MOVA administrators and the Justason family, Warsaw Superintendent Shawn Poyser sent an email dripping with bureaucratic arrogance where he stated that the district “will make a decision as to whether enrolling in these courses is in [the child’s] best interest,” dismissing the own mother’s decision.
“This type of arrogance has no place in education today,” PSO Board President Colleen Cook said. “This mother has determined that virtual education is the best and safest option for her medically complex daughter. Not only that, but it’s her lawful right to attend this school. Despite all this, Shawn Poyser has taken it upon himself to overrule the family’s decision.”
The school districts attempt to rescind access to MOVA is even more galling considering the recent judicial ruling by Judge Gael Wood that supported a similar family’s access to MOVA in the Fulton School District.
“Missouri doesn’t need bureaucrats deciding a child’s best interest, especially when it’s in direct contradiction to the mother’s wishes. Missouri need leaders who will follow the law as it is written and as it has been interpreted by Missouri’s judicial system,” Cook said.
The letter demands that the District re-confirm its initial approval for enrollment in MOVA or set an appeal hearing with the School Board by August 23rd. If neither are done, the letter states the family will file suit.
“I will accept your refusal as a determination that we have no administrative relief available, and proceed to file suit in order to correct the District’s arbitrary decision and infringement of Minor’s rights (specifically, her statutory right to an education which no rational, or feeling person would attempt to deny her, even if they had a far better, or at least consistent, rationale for doing so.”
Will District Superintendent Shawn Poyser do the right thing for the Justason family? Or will he force them to use the judicial system to secure their daughter’s rights?
A judge has ruled in favor of a Fulton mother in her lawsuit involving Fulton Public Schools and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Miya Estill brought the suit on behalf of her three young children, who were denied enrollment in a particular online course program (MOVA) by FPS because DESE had not approved it.