Family sues school district - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

Family sues school district


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC-DT) -- Imagine how you would feel, as a parent, if you asked your fifth grader to read something and he or she simply could not.

That's what one Wanamingo family says happened with their son and now they're suing the school district.

Mike and Laurie Farrell say it all began last summer when they asked their son, Chris, who had just finished fifth grade to read a graduation invitation they got in the mail.

"We wanted Chris to open it up and read it and see who it was from and Chris did that. And he wasn't able to read it," says Mike.  Now, they're suing the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District.

At least two days a week, Mike Farrell and his son Chris spend hours at the Sylvan Learning Center in Rochester working on reading and math.

Chris had always had an independent education plan at Kenyon-Wanamingo Schools, but his parents say they had no idea that troubles he was having in reading and math.

In his early years, Chris was diagnosed with ADHD, but after learning that Chris wasn't up to par with his classmates after 5th grade the Farrell's spent most of their summer at Sylvan catching him up.

"We went everyday, three hours a day for the whole entire summer," said Mike Farrell.

Besides Sylvan, they also went to the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District for help.

"They felt that everything was fine and assured us that things would start on a good foot starting sixth grade," said Farrell.

But things were not fine. Mike says the district didn't follow through.

"We were promised, after the meeting, in the summer that everything would be taken care of and ready to go the first day of school. In my mind, when we go to school we should hit the ground running," said Farrell.

After filing a complaint with the Department of Education, the Farrell's decided to take another step, and sue the district.

The Kenyon-Wanamingo School District did not comment on the lawsuit citing data privacy statutes.

But the Farrell's say they want to get the word out -fearing that there could be other children in the same position.

The Farrell's are seeking reimbursement for the cost of tuition at Sylvan and mileage to get to and from Rochester which is more than $21,000 dollars.

A hearing about the issue with the Minnesota Department of Education will be on Monday, the 26th at 9 a.m. in the Wanamingo Community Center.

There is some good news.

Chris is now reading at almost a 5th grade level.

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