Mom says school sold parking spot she used to pick up daughter with special needs

State - Regional

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh mother of a child with special needs is fighting to keep her parking spot at Hilburn Academy. Layne Taylor said she’s used the spot in front of the school for more than three years.

She said she was told about a week ago she could no longer park there.

“She’s very distracted by change. You know, everything has to be in its routine, be in its place, and when any of that changes, it messes everything up,” Taylor said.

Her daughter, Raegan, is a fifth grader at Hilburn Academy.

Taylor said she was told a parent complained about her parking there and that she received a text from a teacher’s assistant telling her she could no longer do so.

Taylor said she was told the spot she was in was reserved for the silent auction winner. A photo shows a new sign that was put in place Tuesday afternoon. She told CBS 17 that, in the past, parents have paid upwards of $1,500 for the privilege. 

“It’s sad that, you know, that we’re taking an extra two minutes of your day to get my daughter out of school in a safe way. And, in a way, that’s she been used to doing for years,” Taylor said.

Taylor showed CBS 17 emails she sent to school administrators and the parent-teacher association.

In an email, Lisa Luten with Wake County Schools said: “There is room for two vehicles in the front of the carpool loop. Half of this space is reserved for the silent raffle winner. The other half is available. There is also a separate pick up area, away from carpool, designated for students with special needs. Both would be options for parents who have special requests.”

The PTA declined a request for an interview. In an email, the PTA president Julie Rivera said

For background information, you should know that the auction for “first in carpool line” has been going on for at least six years. This is a common silent auction item at WCPSS fundraisers, and is not unique to Hilburn. 

I also think it is important for you to know, that to my knowledge, the student in question is not impacted by this First in Line carpool privilege in terms of time, safety, or respect. The parent reached out to the media about this issue, and that is certainly her right. However, to suggest that either our school or our PTA is not concerned with the needs of our special needs students is both factually inaccurate and personally upsetting. 

The mission and vision of the Hilburn PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. As PTA President, I’ve seen firsthand what our volunteers do to help all Hilburn Hawks fly. I’m proud of our school.

“These kids should be taken into [consideration] as much, if not more, than anybody else, and now it’s become about money and the PTA. It’s sad,” Taylor said.

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