Smithville mom finds basic tasks taught in daughter’s special needs class insulting

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SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Smithville High School has a course that aims to provide life skills for students with disabilities.

This one-credit class includes tasks like cleaning, mail delivery, resume-building and copying jobs. However, one mother says her 17-year-old freshman daughter needs more.

“My daughter is probably not going to work as a copier,” Kristina Hoggs said about her high-functioning autistic daughter. “Some of that works great for hand and eye coordination for very low level functioning students, but they provide nothing for the higher-learning students such as my daughter and others.”

Hobbs has been in contact with the school on several occasions.

“It was not positive,” she explained. “They suggested that my daughter be taken out of the class if I was not happy with what they were doing, but I said no. They can’t punish my daughter because of me.”

Emails provided to FOX4 show correspondence between Hobbs and the school. In each email, Hobbs expresses that she’s dissatisfied with the course and wants staff to do more. So we took a trip to Smithville High to speak with the program’s coordinator.

“Our transitional living skills class was developed to help kids with special needs to become more prepared for life after high school,” Amy Baugh said. “Our students went out to Harvesters today to volunteer; they do different jobs around the building and are really involved in our school’s coffee shop where they work with our business department.”

Baugh told FOX4 that her students love being in the program, adding that it gives them a sense of value in a society that they may not always feel secure.

“I think its awesome because when our students are in the community and they see different people, utilizing those things that they put together, it helps them to feel connected to the community in a way that they may not otherwise,” she said.

The school confirmed they are aware of the mother’s concerns. When asked how they would respond, they said each student is met with love.

“All of our students are happy and cared for,” Baugh said. “This district loves their kids, and I have not seen anything but positive experiences.”

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