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Mother Files Discrimination Lawsuit Over Student Trip

The mother of a special needs Lincoln Middle School 8th grader has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the El Paso Independent School District.

Kristen Cox spent the good part of her Friday morning fighting on behalf of her son outside the EPISD’s Headquarters.

She organized a peaceful protest of disabled citizens after it seemed like her son Kyle, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, wasn’t going to be able to join some of his Lincoln classmates on an American history tour of Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.

Cox was hoping the District could use special education funding to pay for an attendant to accompany Kyle.

But EPISD said it couldn’t do that since the trip isn’t school sponsored.

In a statement, the District wrote:

“The trip was scheduled through an outside party. For those students who do attend, 100% of the expenses are being paid by parents. The teachers who attend the trip take state personal leave to accompany the students.”

EPISD says it also got an opinion from the U.S. Department of Education on the matter.

So Cox ended up paying for Kyle’s attendant herself. But when her son wanted to room with other kids on the trip, Cox says the teacher organizing the group told them Kyle would have to share a room with his attendant.

“I couldn’t be in the same room as everyone,” Kyle told ABC-7.

Kyle’s reservation ended up being canceled by the tour company because he took too long to select a room. But after a meeting with Cox’s attorney, that reservation was reinstated.

“I’m very pleased,” Cox said.

Cox’s attorney filed the discrimination lawsuit against EPISD last week.

As for Kyle, as he gets ready to leave for his trip on Sunday, he says he’s just happy he’s getting to go.

“(The other students) might find it a treat when they go to the White House with me,” he said. “I get to ride in the elevator the President rides in everyday.”

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