Students with Asperger Syndrome have a difficult time attending class. They react even worse when transferred to a different school. One parent says that's exactly what her son has been forced to do.
For nearly a decade, Andrew Valenti, 13, has walked the halls of Father Marquette Catholic schools. Now he's pacing the sidewalk for his right to stay there.
"I was pretty much kicked out for something that I can't help," said Andrew.
Last April, Andrew's doctors diagnosed him with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism with difficulties in learning and social skills.
"He has a lack of focus, his organizational skills are very hard, and he doesn't pay attention a lot in class," said Heather Milliner, Andrew's mother.
Everything seemed OK. The middle school has at least 20 other students with special needs. Last fall they hired their first special education teacher.
"I thought, great, maybe Andrew will improve and his grades will improve," Milliner said.
But that didn't happen. Last January, officials sent letters to Andrew's parents stating the school simply isn't equipped to handle his disability.
"Sometimes the services that are provided through those means are not as direct as we would like them to be; that's when we have to look at the sacrifice, trying to get the resources to provide more direct service," said Superintendent Mark Salisbury.
Andrew is currently at North Star Academy in Marquette, but family members say the fight isn't over.
"I want them to reevaluate their resources and make sure they have it in place before they accept new students," said Chris Valenti, Andrew's father.
The Diocese of Marquette says they are looking to prevent this problem in the future by outlining their limitations during the application process.