RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thirteen-year-old Micah Davis couldn’t wait to start eighth grade at Binford Middle School this fall. The special needs student loves math and hates that he’s stuck home missing algebra.
His mother, Natalynne Hicks, says she was shocked when administrators told her the school didn’t have the staff to accommodate her son. Now, he’s just sitting at home.
“He’s not getting an education now,” Hicks said.
The mom says she spoke to Richmond Public Schools (RPS) officials over the summer, saying they were ready to have Davis back in the building.
“Micah has always been in-person,” Hicks said.
However, when Hicks tried to drop off Davis, she says schools administrators changed their tune and told her they wouldn’t be able to accept him.
Hicks recorded the encounter, during which a school official can be heard saying, “So we can’t support Micah. We can’t support him in the school building.”
It’s too late to sign up for virtual learning, plus Hicks says Davis doesn’t want it.
“Micah said to me a few months back that when the vaccine became available, he wanted to get it because his mental health was real and he needed to go back to school in person,” she said.
His Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is a legal document, calls for Davis to attend his assigned school.
“They’re violating a federal document,” Hicks said.
WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, reached out to RPS and was told they couldn’t talk about it due to student privacy laws. They were also told nationwide, there are school staffing shortages and RPS is not exempt.
“I could probably buy that if the day before this occurred the superintendent hadn’t made a plea to the community to, please send your kids to school,” Hicks said.
During a recent school board meeting, Superintendent Jason Kamras publicly announced families who signed up for in-person instruction aren’t showing up for class.
“We have a number of very small classes across the division,” Kamras said.
So, Davis has his own plea for Kamras.
“Please fix this Mr. Kamras,” he said.
Hicks has filed a due process complaint and requested an emergency hearing. While RPS couldn’t provide details in Davis’ case, WFXR’s sister station was told RPS is working closely with the family to bring resolution to their concerns.
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