District denies senior with learning disability the chance to walk during graduation ceremony

Senior has epilepsy, learning disability

THORNTON, Colo. - A Mapleton district senior won’t be able to graduate or walk with her class just a half a credit short of meeting requirements.

“It’s not like I’m asking to graduate this year,” said Hailey Krueger, who goes to the Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts in Thornton. “I’m just asking to walk with my class.”

Krueger has epilepsy and this school year she learned she also has a learning disability.

She admits her grades have gone down, along with missing school whenever she has seizures.

However, with just half a credit short of meeting the requirements, she doesn’t understand why she can’t at least participate with the rest of her class as she works to complete her senior year.

“It’s not that she hasn’t done the work, it’s medical,” said Gina Sheridan, Hailey’s mom, “it’s an exception.”

A spokesperson issued the following statement to Denver7 through email regarding the situation:

“We have a Board of Education policy (IKFB) which clearly states that only students who have completed their graduation requirements can take part in the graduation ceremony. We want all of our students to be successful, so as soon as they complete their required credits, they can graduate. The student has the option to take part in the graduation ceremony with the class of 2017 if she has completed enough credits at that time.”

“It’s nothing against the class of 2017,” said Krueger, “but I want to walk with my class.”

Her mom has written letters to the district, including doctor’s notes, and sought advice from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division regarding the American Disabilities Act.

“I’m not asking that she graduate,” said Sheridan, “I’m not asking that they let go of the half a credit, we’re just asking to let her walk on stage like any other teenager.”

When asked whether Krueger would walk with the class of 2017, she said she isn’t sure, especially because she plans to complete her credit requirements by next fall and then head to Grand Junction for college.

Krueger and her mom say this is their final plea before they move on to another option.

“When she gets her diploma in October we’re going to throw her our own graduation party and our own graduation ceremony if she doesn’t get to walk ,” said Sheridan. 

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