PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A local couple is upset over an email they received from the new administration at the St. John's Catholic School in Panama City.
They say the school has decided against re-enrolling their special needs child this fall. The Catholic Archdiocese which oversees the school, is giving conflicting answers about the situation.
The couple chose to remain anonymous so they will be referred to as "The Smiths". The Smiths say they moved to Panama City three years ago so their son could attend St. John's School, but it appears his time at the school has come to an end.
"We just get this email that says we can no longer provide services to your child and we just got this email two days ago" said the Smiths.
With less than two weeks until the school year begins, the Smiths are now scrambling to find their son a new school.
"This was a decision that was made probably months ago, why weren't we notified then when we had time?" said the Smiths.
The Smiths say there were rumors at the beginning of the summer than St. John's would discontinue special needs services. The new Principal, Vicki Parks, refused to comment on the matter, but the archdiocese did.
"This parent's statement is false. St.John's Catholic school in Panama City, Florida is accepting students with special needs and the school currently has students with special needs enrolled" said Kira Ciupek, Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Pensacola and Tallahassee.
When we asked about the emails the Smiths received, the answers weren't as forthcoming.
"As far as that particular email between that parent and the principal, that issue is something I don't really want to discuss at this moment. I just simply want to state that the parent statement that they have given to you is false" said Ciupek.
Regardless, the Smiths are now worried about their child's scholarship which he will lose if he's not enrolled in a school by Friday. The family says the nearest school with a special needs program that accepts the scholarship is in Quincy, Florida. They say more notice would have made a difference.
"At the beginning of the summer we would have had time to still have our funding and we would be able to find another school and the most important thing is we would have had time to prepare our child" said the Smiths.
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