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New Law Helps Sick Students Who Need Schooling At Home Or Hospital

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Tiffany Houston teaches her son, Kyran, who has missed several months of school because of surgery. (CBS)

Tiffany Houston teaches her son, Kyran, who has missed several months of school because of surgery. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Children recovering from surgery or an illness often wait weeks, even months, before they get any help with schoolwork, which often causes them to be held back in school.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports on a new law aimed at solving the problem.

Twelve-year-old Kyran Houston is doing homework, getting ready to head back to school.

He’s been out of the classroom since last November, when he underwent major reconstructive bladder surgery. And even though schools are required to provide students like him with home- or hospital-based instruction during recovery, he went almost three months without any instruction at all.

“I would call the school and ask them what’s going on. They scheduled for a teacher to come out. Then something happened where the teacher couldn’t come out,” Kyran’s mother, Tiffany, said. “That just kept going on and on.”

It was a statewide problem attorney Amy Zimmerman came across again and again.

“For some school districts that meant children waiting up until the time their recuperation was over,” she said. “So, they never got the services.”

Her organization, with help from parents like Houston, fought to get rid of that education gap and to keep other, sick students from falling behind.

And last month, Gov. Quinn signed legislation that should help.

First, schools now have five days to provide home or hospital instruction after getting a doctor’s note about an extended absence. Special education services must continue. Also, schools are required to provide an hour of tutoring a day.

So what should parents do if they still get the runaround?

Zimmerman’s advice is to approach the school district superintendent. If that doesn’t work, she recommends filing a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Education.

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