Schools held autistic boy 'hostage': judges
July 15, 2007
BY TIM WALDORF Naperville Sun
Two judges have said Naperville School District
203 held an autistic student "hostage" to
"blackmail" his parents into agreeing to its
plans for his education.
Killian Hynes, a nonverbal, autistic 6-year-old
Naperville boy, communicates using a device known
as a Tango. It's as important to Killian as a
wheelchair to a child with a physical disability,
said his father, Kevin Hynes, 43.
That's why the Hyneses took legal action when
Naperville School District 203 withheld Killian's
"I know my rights, and I know my son's rights,"
said Kevin, a lawyer, as is his wife, Beth, 44.
Judges who recently ruled on the case had harsh
words for District 203. Federal Judge Milton
Shadur asked District 203 the same question posed
to notorious U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954:
"Have you no shame?"
The Tango was an agreed-upon provision in
Killian's individual education plan with District
The 6-year-old was bored and regressing at
Summitt School Early Learning Center in Elgin,
Kevin said. So they made arrangements to send him
to a more expensive but more technologically
advanced Carol Stream program.
District 203 administrators agreed Killian wasn't
getting what he needed at Summit but expressed
concerns about the costs of the Carol Stream
Then when Killian's summer IEP was set to begin,
District 203 administrators told him he couldn't
have his Tango.
District 203's legal counsel, Laura Sinars,
indicated the only way the district would provide
Killian the device was if the Hyneses agreed to
send him to a program the district preferred.
"That's coercion," Kevin said.
Shadur said, "The undisputed picture here is
regrettably one of the defendants holding, I
guess, a 6-year-old autistic boy hostage," Shadur
said, sending the case to DuPage County Circuit
Court for trial. There, Judge Bonnie Wheaton
ruled District 203 was to immediately provide the
Ã‚Â© Copyright 2007 Sun-Times News Group