Parents of a 15-year-old disabled child in Edgefield County are fighting to make sure their son receives the education he deserves. (WRDW-TV / Sept. 14, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C.-- An Edgefield County family wants justice from the school system.
They say teacher Karaleigh Holmes cheated taxpayers out of money and their disabled son out of an education. And they want something done about it.
Christopher Bradhurst has Dandy Walker syndrome. Most patients only live five to seven years, but Christopher is 15.
He's had to fight for his life, and now his parents are fighting another battle.
"I want justice," said Christopher's mother, Vicky Bradhurst.
Christopher can't speak so his mother has to do it for him, and she has a lot to say about his teacher.
"This person has committed fraud," she said.
And Vicky says she has the documents to prove it.
Because of Christopher's disability, he doesn't go to regular school. A teacher comes to their house.
It's still part of the public school system, funded by tax dollars.
"There is a law out there that no child should be left behind, well our son is left behind," Vicky said.
According to a letter from from the Edgefield School District, Christopher's teacher admitted to forging the Bradhursts' initials to get paid for hours she never worked.
The letter also shows the teacher was terminated and asked to pay back $5,543.
"She is getting a slap on the wrist, giving her until the 31st of August to pay the money back -- has she paid it back?" asked Vicky.
But Christopher's mother wants to know who's going to pay him back for the help he was supposed to get.
"He can't fight for himself, a lot of these children can't fight for themselves, they have to have advocates, they have to have their parents, they have to have the schools, but if you don't have a school system that will fight for these children, what do they have?" Vicky said.
Bill Bradhurst, Christopher's father, says he will continue to fight.
"I will do everything necessary to make sure he gets what he actually needs," Bill said.
And the Bradhursts are nowhere close to giving up.
"We went to D.C. about this. D.C. said we have to come back to the county level, no response, we go to the state, well we have been to the state," Vicky said.
They say they will not be silent.
The Bradhursts met with the Board of Education Tuesday night. They say BOE members were aware of what happened but want to make sure they knew their side.
News 12 called the district and received this statement from Superintendent Mary Rice-Crenshaw:
"Our first and most important responsibility is the education of the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bradhurst. The district is making every effort to ensure that the child receives the appropriate education. We now have a good teacher working with the student. We will continue to monitor and work with the Bradhursts to meet the educational needs of their son."