Parents fight for better special education in wake of the death of Trevyan Rowe

Mar 29, 2018

Anna Kasserly is a parent and a parent advocate for families of students with disabilities.
Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI News

After the death of Trevyan Rowe, a lot of people are asking what the Rochester City School District could have done differently. Some parents are saying this is not the first time the special education system has failed its students.

On a cold, rainy afternoon in March, several parents gather outside the central office of the city school board. Anna Kasserly is holding a sign that says, "We need change and we need it now."

"Why did we have to wait for this to happen?" she yells into the microphone. "Why we have to wait for him to lose his life?"

She's talking about Rowe, a high school student in special education who passed away earlier this month after walking away from school.

But Kasserly, a parent and parent advocate, says this is not an isolated incident.

"The district knew that the transportation was not good for our children. The district knew it for years that they don't have enough programs, they don't have enough special teachers," she says.

Kasserly and other parents gathered as part of a rally organized by Metro Justice and Alliance for Quality Education.

The parents and advocates are calling for better training, more teachers and more transparency in the system.

This week, the school board released a budget that would increase the number of special education teachers, but Kasserly and others say it is not enough and they will keep fighting.