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Contact7 gets results for Windsor mom concerned that son could miss trip of a lifetime

Tour company: Mom invited to be a group leader
Posted: 9:05 PM, Feb 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-15 04:05:21Z
Ozark's health on upswing after move to Colorado

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WINDSOR, Colo. -- When Heather Shaffett first learned that a teacher at her son's school was sponsoring a summer trip to Europe in 2020, she immediately placed her son's name on the list.

"They're going to France and Spain for ten days," she said. "We're Cajun French. We have roots in France, so it means a lot to us in that respect."

A day later, she received a message from the teacher expressing serious concerns.

Message from Teacher

Shaffett said she called the teacher to ask about the concerns.

"There was never a clear explanation except, 'I don't feel comfortable,'" she said.

Shaffett told Contact7 that Ozark, 13, has epilepsy and mitochondrial disease, which can cause seizures, but she said he hasn't suffered one since October when doctors at Children's Hospital replaced the battery in his nerve stimulator, which she describes as a "pacemaker for the brain."

She also said that hemp oil helps keep symptoms under control.

That's one of the reasons the family moved to Colorado.

"I want him to have equal opportunity," she said. "This young man was once in a wheel chair. He had a feeding tube. He could not go to school, whatsoever, in Louisiana, and here, he skateboards and rides a bike."

Ozark with Skateboard
Ozark in a Wheel Chair

Mrs. Shaffett said doctors have cleared Ozark for travel. She said they've been to the Bahamas and have gone back to Louisiana several times to visit and to attend funerals. She said when they travel, they take Ozark's pharmaceutical medication with them and leave the hemp oil at home.

"I'm very familiar with the law," she said. "We helped change the law in Louisiana, and helped modify it in Colorado."

She said Ozark testified at the Colorado Legislature in support of a bill to allow school nurses to administer non-smokable medical marijuana to students who have medical marijuana cards.

Ozark at State Capitol

Shaffett, a certified nursing assistant, said she would accompany her son to Europe and is willing to sign a waiver saying she will be responsible for his care.

"I understand the fear when you don't understand something," she said. "We're not born knowing everything, but after presenting all the medical and scientific evidence, how can you deny him to be able to go?"

Resolution

Contac7 reached out the Weld RE-4 School District, the teacher and EF Tours.

A spokeswoman for the school district said they are not involved in the summer trip at all. She said the teacher and the tour company are the ones who plan and carry out the tours.

The teacher did not reply to our request for comment, but late Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for EF Tours said the concerns have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

"We connected with all the parties," he said, "the family can join as originally planned."

He said Mrs. Shaffett was invited to be a "group leader" on the tour, similar to the teacher.

Shaffett said she was grateful that "it was resolved in one day."