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School board sues parent of special needs child

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LIVINGSTON - The parent of a child with Down Syndrome received quite a shock Friday morning when a deputy served her a lawsuit filed by the Livingston Parish School Board.

The lawsuit aims to block Ashley Kellett from placing a doctor prescribed device called AngelSense on her child while she attends school. The school system claims the device can illegally intercept the communication of other students, faculty, and staff.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit first introduced you to Ashley Kellet in November. That's when she said her daughter Peyton was referred to a program for children considered at-risk youth. That referral came after Kellett said she spoke up about the school not following her daughter's education plan. Following WBRZ's story, the school began following the plan.

One month later, there were more problems. Kellett said her daughter began running from the house. Her doctor prescribed AngelSense, which can help track her daughter's whereabouts if she gets away. The Livingston Parish School Board said it is not allowed in their schools.

"I'm disappointed," Kellett said. "I'm so utterly disappointed in the level of corruption and their integrity and character. Their focus has become on me and not her."

With the school system alleging that the privacy rights of the children, faculty, and staff are being violated, attorneys also filed a restraining order preventing Kellett from talking about it.

Kellett said it's ironic that the school system is concerned about the privacy rights of students now. She cited recent news of problems the school system is dealing with involving a teacher who allegedly photographed students eating sweets contaminated with semen.

"You can't even look at your employees and screen them appropriately to know there are pedophiles in your school system, but yet you want me to trust you with my child," Kellett said.

Kellett said no lawsuit will stop her from speaking up for her daughter who cannot communicate for herself.

We asked the Livingston Parish School System how much money it was spending on this litigation. We did not get a response by news time.

Livingston Parish School Superintendent Joe Murphy provided the following statement Friday: 

"I can confirm that the Livingston Parish School Board has filed an injunction against Ashley Kellett to restrain her, through the use of her minor child, from placing an electronic listening/recording device in the child's school to illegally intercept communication of other students, faculty, and staff. 
The Livingston Parish School Board believes this act violates the privacy rights, well being and safety of those persons being recorded without their knowledge or consent. Louisiana law prohibits such action, and the Livingston Parish School Board has a strict policy to protect the privacy rights of its students, parents, faculty, and staff, including upholding student rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Livingston Parish school officials have conducted numerous conferences with Ashley Kellett to resolve this issue, but those attempts have been met with resistance and hostile threats. Therefore, the Livingston Parish School Board is seeking legal remedy to the matter. No further comment is available at this time as legal action is pending."


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