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Dad says son with autism left out of field day

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jun 01, 2017

A valley dad says his special needs son is being treated differently than other students at his school. He said his son's special needs class is being left out of field day.

There is a lot of excitement at the end of the school year. For many students, field day is a highlight. Josh Wahrer's son goes to Harmon Elementary, where he says planning for field day started months ago.

"We were getting notices that everybody's participating," said Wahrer. "We even got flyers saying, 'purchase a t-shirt' and they had to prepay on there with what color they were supposed to be wearing."

But just days before field day, Wahrer said he found out his son would not be allowed to participate. His son JJ has autism. He is in a special needs pre-k class.

"I don't think they handled it very well because leading up to field day, all the communication from the school was that all the students were participating," Wahrer said.

Wahrer is his son's biggest advocate and he called the superintendent's office to complain. He was told there would be a different field day for all the pre-k classes on the last day of school, which is only a half day.

"I feel like it was planned only because I voiced my concerns with the superintendent's office," said Wahrer. "So talking with the teacher that's planning it, it's looking to be only an hour worth of activities."

13 Action News reached out to the Clark County School District. They sent us the following statement:

"All kindergarten to fifth-grade students were invited to participate in field day events, including special needs students. The flyer that was sent home with students regarding field day also notified parents of the option to purchase a T-shirt.

"The pre-K students will have their own field day on the last day of instruction in their own shaded playground.

"Additionally, if the parents want a refund on the T-shirt they purchased, they are more than welcomed to request one from Harmon Elementary School."

They also said it was always the principal's intention to have a separate field day for safety reasons. But Wahrer said he wasn't made aware of the separate field day until days before the date on the flyer.

"I even took a day off of work so I could go help out, so me and my wife were both planning on being there all day to support him and help out," he said.

Wahrer said he will continue calling the district and doing what he can to advocate for his son.