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News & Noteworthy

Marshal sent to pick up homework for bullied teen comes back empty-handed

By CLAIRE MICHALEWICZ, Press Staff
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 2:09 AM EDT

 

MIDDLETOWN — Middletown teen Monique McClain, home from school because of bullying from classmates, is still unable to do her classwork after a state marshal returned empty handed from the Board of Education office Tuesday.

The 13-year-old hasn’t attended classes since January, and earlier this month, school officials stopped providing assignments to work on from home.

Sally Roberts, attorney for the McClain family, hired State Marshal Susan Voigt to pick up McClain’s homework. Roberts said the school system and its attorney, Christine Chinni, are deliberately “stonewalling” the 13-year-old’s right to an education.

Chinni did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday. Superintendent of Schools Michael Frechette said he cannot speak about student records.

McClain left Woodrow Wilson Middle School in January, because, other students bullied her incessantly for months, her family explained. Her mother, Alycia, and grandmother, Alexa, say the school system hasn’t done enough to protect Monique, so they’re keeping her home until the Board of Education can place her in another school.

For the interim, the McClains have requested a tutor so Monique doesn’t fall too far behind in her coursework. So far, Roberts said, the board has done nothing to provide one.

Since January, Alycia McClain had been picking up her daughter’s assignments,

 

but earlier this month, school administrators stopped providing her homework.

McClain said WWMS Principal Charles Marqua referred her to the Board of Education offices across the street, but the Board hasn’t given her anything.

Sally Roberts, attorney for the McClains, decided to hire a state marshal to pick up Monique’s homework. State marshals usually work to deliver legal documents like lawsuits.

Alycia McClain said she and Marshal Susan Voigt arrived at the Board of Education offices Monday morning to pick up Monique’s homework, but there was nothing for her to pick up. McClain said Voigt left a message for Frechette, who was not in the office Tuesday morning.

“They didn’t have anything for us,” McClain said, noting that her daughter was falling behind in school because she hadn’t had been able to see her coursework for several weeks. “It’s like they’re the bullies now.”

After she and several family members and friends spoke out about Monique’s case at the last board meeting, she said, the board contacted the state Department of Children and Families to report Monique as truant.

McClain said she and her family have been criticized for taking Monique’s case public, but said she would continue fighting to protect her daughter and help her get an education.

“We McClains are not backing down,” she said. “It’s exhausting, but it has to come to an end at some point.”

Roberts said she’s also had difficulty getting other information from Chinni — she said she filed a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this month for Monique’s complete school records, but the Board of Education provided her with only part of her file.

On Tuesday, Roberts wrote a letter to Chinni, giving her a deadline of Friday to provide her with the rest of Monique’s documents. Afterward, she said, she would file a complaint with the state Freedom of Information Commission.


© 2011 middletownpress.com, a Journal Register Property


SAR Itr re State Marshal to pick up Monique McClain's Homework Packet.pdf
 

 


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