Oregon mom wonders why district wants daughter fed off campus

Oregon mom wonders why district wants daughter fed off campus »Play Video
Before a policy change, third-grader Bonnie Burch was plunge fed in the school cafeteria during lunch. But now the district says she must be fed off campus.

GRESHAM, Ore. – A mother is looking for answers after she's told she must take her 8-year-old daughter out of school and off school property to feed her every day.

"It seems very unfair. No one else has to take their kids out of school to feed them at lunch," said Beverly Hanset-Burch.

But her daughter, Bonnie, has special needs, and somewhere a decision was made that the school and staff could not support them anymore during lunch.

Bonnie was born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disorder. She needs a lot of assistance to get through daily life. She can't eat solid food and has been plunge fed since she was 2 years old.

"I had hoped that Bonnie would get stronger and be able to feed herself, but fighting against her abs muscles is just not working right now. She doesn't have the strength in her upper body," Beverly said.

Bonnie's in the third-grade at East Gresham Elementary and since kindergarten an aide has plunge fed Bonnie at lunch.

But suddenly policy changed. Beverly was notified Monday the school district's nurses would no longer be giving directives to aides to perform medical procedures and feeding Bonnie is considered a medical procedure.

"They say it's dangerous," Beverly said. "We've had no danger. It's been fine. Nothing has happened with Bonnie."

According to Beverly, Multnomah Education Services now requires Bonnie be fed off campus.

"I'm frustrated. I want my daughter to be in the cafeteria with other children eating with her typical peers like she has been (since) kindergarten, first, second and half of third-grade," Beverly said. "I feel like it's going to make other kids say, 'Where's Bonnie?' and make her freakish or something when she's a vibrant little girl who deserves a free and appropriate public education with her typical peers and less restrictive environment and needs supports in a place to help get that education."

Beverly said there were three people at the school trained and able to feed Bonnie and she just doesn’t understand why things had to change.

KATU News has calls into the school district and plans to follow up on this story Wednesday.