by: Tom Regan Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The father of a severely disabled Gwinnett high school student is questioning the district's curriculum and grading policy.
Although Wes DeWeese's 18-year-old son, Jared, cannot speak words, walk, read or write, he received outstanding scores in courses including algebra, biology and world history.
"My wife and I were pretty astounded. Glad he's getting 90s and 100s. But he can't do any of these. He has the mental capacity of a 6-month-old," DeWeese said.
DeWeese contacted Channel 2's Tom Regan because he believes the transcript and grades give a distorted and misleading record of his son's abilities and cognitive skills.
"This basically is telling me they're giving them scores of 100 because this reflects on the overall schools. There's no way Jared can do algebra. I don't think people in Jared's case should be graded on anything like this. It should be on the skills set forth, goals the parents set with the teachers," DeWeese said.
A representative for Gwinnett County Schools said she could not comment on Jared's transcript, but explained that the district is following policy, rules and regulations set by the Georgia Department of Education.
"Schools have to offer access to regular education courses for students with significant cognitive disabilities. We take those courses you see other students taking and we adapt those courses so students with significant cognitive disabilities can have access to those courses," Gwinnett School District Spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
Sloan also explained how the grades for special needs students like Jared are determined.
"Their grade is based on participation with that curriculum to which they are given access," Roach said.
DeWeese said he understands that learning accommodations are necessary for severely disabled students like his son. But he believes a transcript stating his son is getting high grades in studies he cannot begin to comprehend is not helping.
"My goal isn't for him to do algebra. My goal is to have him walk. I would love to hear him say 'mom' or 'dad.' But I know that's probably never going to happen," DeWeese said.
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