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Sep 2, 2016 11:03 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Special Needs Student Will Be Able To Attend Westhampton Beach Middle School Under Agreement

Christian and Terri Killoran at day two of the hearing regarding their son, Aiden. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Sep 6, 2016 10:55 AM

A temporary accord has been reached between the Killoran family of Remsenburg and the Westhampton Beach School District that allows 14-year-old Aiden Killoran, who has Down syndrome, to be at least partially integrated into the Westhampton Beach Middle School while a permanent education plan for him is developed.

As part of the agreement struck last Thursday, September 1—following the second day of a two-day trial of sorts overseen by an independent hearing officer—Aiden will continue to be home-schooled for his core subjects, like math and English, but will be allowed to attend the middle school for other services, like occupational and speech therapy, as well as physical education.

In the meantime, the Westhampton Beach Committee on Special Education will convene to create a plan for Aiden’s middle and high school education, according to Aiden’s father, Christian Killoran.

On Friday morning, Mr. Killoran said the agreement was a big step in the right direction for his oldest son. Mr. Killoran explained that if he and his wife, Terri, are pleased with the plan created for their son, there will be no need to reconvene the hearing presided over by officer Nancy Lieberman. If they are unhappy with the plan, the Killorans can request that the hearing resume in mid-October.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” Mr. Killoran said this week. “There are a lot of emotions and this is kind of surreal, but we are hopeful that things can work out.”

The school district’s attorney, Kevin Seaman, was not immediately available for comment.

The Killorans have been engaged in a fight with administrators in both the Westhampton Beach and Remsenburg-Speonk school districts for nearly two years in an effort to enroll Aiden in Westhampton Beach schools for his middle and high school years. They’ve argued that it is important for Aiden to be with his classmates from the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School rather than attend another district to continue his education. The family has also argued that, although they live in Remsenburg, the family spends a considerable amount of time in Westhampton Beach and feel it is their community, too.

The district has argued that it does not have the required programming to educate Aiden, and that he would be better off at another district, such as Eastport South Manor, which already has the necessary classes in place. The district has also argued that it should not have to create a specialized program for an out-of-district student.

The temporary agreement is similar to a program that was created at Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School for Aiden’s grade school education. As part of that program—which was customized for Aiden as he was the first student with Down Syndrome to the enter the one-school district—Aiden was with his classmates for art and gym classes, but moved to a separate room for his one-on-one instruction for subjects like math and reading. He did not receive any home schooling during his elementary school years.

According to Mr. Killoran, Aiden will take the school bus every morning, starting yesterday, Tuesday, September 6, for his classes at the Westhampton Beach Middle School. After about three hours, Aiden, who turned 14 on Wednesday, September 7, will be bused back to his home to continue his eduction.

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YAY!!!! The parents are the ones who decide what's best for their son, not the school administrators!
By Taz (635), East Quogue on Sep 2, 16 12:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe the school district deciding that treating Aiden as an outcast wasn't such a great idea. All the best to you Aiden, and I hope you make a lot of new friends.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Sep 2, 16 10:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Westhampton Beach MS will be better for it. Good luck Aidan.
And congratulations Aidan's mom and dad.
By jams (127), hampton bays on Sep 5, 16 8:06 AM