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Headlines Not New for Boy in SPED Appeal

December 4, 2018

LOWELL -- The student at the center of a court clash over a special-education appeal made national headlines three years ago when he returned $8,000 he stumbled upon at a Salem playground.

Aiden Wright, of Lowell, was 7 years old when he brought $8,000 lost by a local contractor to the Salem Police Department in 2015. He found the cash at Salem’s Memorial Park while visiting with his uncle, Danny Wright.

Now his mother Ellen Wright says she is embroiled in a years long effort to get her son the services he needs for dyslexia.

Most recently, in May of this year, she filed an appeal to the state Bureau of Special Education Appeals. It was referenced in a Middlesex County Superior Court case this fall when the district took civil action against an expert Wright hired, alleging the expert would not provide documentation of Aiden’s test results.

“This goes on months and months and (Aiden) cannot read or write,” she said.

The attorney representing the district in the case, Jane Mosher-Canty, declined to comment when contacted Monday, citing student privacy.

Wright said she initially requested out-of-district placement for her son, who is a fourth grader at Reilly Elementary School. She said she altered her request when he was not admitted into the schools and in the May appeal asked for one hour of after school tutoring a day.

According to Wright, her son has an Individualized Education Program and currently receives in-school services, but not through the program recommended by the expert she hired.

The expert hired by Wright is Dr. Robert Kemper, the director of Psycholinguistic Associates in Stratham, NH. He has disputed the district’s claims he did not share documents, saying he only allows people to inspect the documents in his presence, but has made efforts to meet with the district.

The hearing in front of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals has been delayed until the case moves through Middlesex County Superior Court, according to court documents.

Both Kemper and Wright allege the court case is being used to stall the appeal.

Aiden’s mother said she agreed to the district’s request for an independent evaluator to test her son this winter for another opinion.

Wright, an attorney specializing in divorce, is her son’s legal representation in the appeal. She has spent about $25,000 on the effort -- support many other students in the district do not have access to, she said.

When Aiden returned $8,000 three years ago his story was featured in the Sun, People Magazine and “The Ellen Degeneres Show” among other outlets.

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