Special-needs aide reassignment upsets Lawrence family

Posted: Updated:
VALLEY STREAM -

A 10-year-old girl with special needs says she doesn't want to go to school anymore because the Lawrence Union Free School District reassigned her aide of five years. 

Emma Zelmanovich has spinal muscular atrophy and requires an aide to help her with everyday tasks. 

Her father, Mark Zelmanovich, says the district has not yet provided a reason to the family why their trusted aide was reassigned.

"Complete radio silence," he told News 12. "She needs an aide that understands her needs and how to keep her safe."

The Zelmanovich family says the district assigned a new aide with no experience to Emma.

"If a child gets hurt…the district is going to be the one who will have a lawsuit on their hands," says Rachel Zelmanovich. "It's very serious."

School District Superintendent Gary Schall told News 12 by phone that "this is not a special education issue, it is a personnel issue, and by state law cannot be discussed in public." 

Mark Zelmanovich says he still hopes the district will reverse its decision about Emma's longtime aide.

"This is a very delicate situation that's not been handled very delicately," he says. 

The family says they have retained a lawyer and are considering all options.
 

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