Hyperactive Boy Can Skip Drug Dose, Go to Class
A state hearing officer on Friday lifted the school suspension of a hyperactive third-grade student whose parents refused to give him behavior-control drugs as a condition of his education.
The order said Casey Jesson could return to school without drug treatment until resolution of a dispute over how the 9-year-old boy’s behavior problems should be treated.
“Preservation of the status quo requires that Casey be returned to the Derry Village School pending a final resolution of this matter,” wrote Eric G. Falkenham, who reviewed the dispute for the state Education Department. “The parties may of course agree to an alternative placement.”
Casey was suspended from his third-grade class on April 5 after the Jessons refused to give him Ritalin or a substitute drug to control his hyperactive behavior. They cited side effects from the drug, which included insomnia, loss of appetite and erratic behavior.
Erratic at Home
At hearings last week, Valerie Jesson said their home life with Casey on Ritalin had become so erratic that her husband, Michael, suggested once that she and the boy get in their car and “drive until they hit a wall.”
But teachers said Casey was disruptive and disobedient in class, and the medication would be required for his attendance.
In a letter to the Jessons, school Supt. David Brown wrote that Casey “rocks and hums, gazes out the window, is almost never still, and for the most part, totally disregards work assignments and simple rules of behavior.”
In returning Casey to his class, Falkenham cited federal law that requires that a child “remain in the then-current educational placement” until an agreement on the child’s placement is reached.
“The law is clear . . . that the suspension represents a change in placement,” he wrote.