Update: California Kid Won’t Be Forced to Switch Schools After All
“A victory for common sense.”
That’s what attorney Stephen Jaffe said, after school officials in Palo Alto, California, decided that 11-year-old Colman Chadam would not have to change schools after all.
But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Colman missed 11 days of class before those officials changed their mind.
“I still have a lot of anger about how it went down,” said Colman’s mom, Jennifer Chadam, in an interview with Chronicle reporter Jill Tucker.
By all accounts, Colman is an active, healthy kid.
But when he was younger, his parents found out that he has a genetic mutation – a mutation that makes him a carrier of something called cystic fibrosis.
(“Genetic” means something you inherit from one or both of your parents. A “mutation” is something unusual. And “cystic fibrosis” is a disease that causes large amounts of mucus to build up in a person’s lungs and other organs. It’s something kids inherit from their parents, so it’s not contagious. But it often kills people at a relatively early age.)
Colman’s parents say he’s been tested.
And he doesn’t have the disease itself – just the gene.
But according to published reports, a couple of other kids at Colman’s school – Jordan Middle School – do have cystic fibrosis.
And experts say kids with cystic fibrosis need to be kept separate from each other, so they don’t pass bacteria back and forth and make each other sick.
So when school officials found out about Colman’s genetic background, they decided that he had to transfer to a different school – even though Colman doesn’t actually have the disease.
At the time, Colman told NBC News that he felt like the school officials were bullying him.
“This has taken a toll on him,” his mom told the Chronicle. “It really has.”
Colman’s parents took the Palo Alto Unified School District to court.
And on November 6th, the two sides reached an agreement: Colman could stay at Jordan Middle School.
However, according to the Chronicle, he agreed to switch classes, so he wouldn’t be in close contact with the kids who have cystic fibrosis.
His parents don’t think the change is necessary.
Neither does a top cystic fibrosis expert at the University of California, San Francisco.
“(Colman) is absolutely at no risk to the (other) children,” said Doctor Dennis Nielson, in an interview last month with the Chronicle.
Nonetheless, the Chadams are glad that Colman is back at his old school.
“We knew we were right,” his mom said.