• Family of dying Orange County student asked for proof from hospice to exempt him from FCAT test


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A mother was told by the Orange County School District that her dying son would need to prove his condition with a letter from hospice to continue a waiver from the FCAT test.

    Eleven-year-old Ethan Rediske has cerebral palsy and was born with brain damage.

    In the third and fourth grade, he was still required to take an alternative version of the state’s standardized FCAT tests.

    It took him two weeks to complete.

    Last year, Rediske was granted a medical exemption but his mother told WFTV the school district said they need to prove his condition, to keep the exemption going.

    In disbelief, his mother sent an email to school board member Rick Roach.

    Roach then took that fight to Tallahassee.

    During a news conference Roach talked about Rediske and his mother, who's now asking a law be drafted, that would give children with disabilities a full exemption from FCAT.

    “Laws need to be made that serve the children, not the other way around. This law needs to be dealt with,” Roach said.

    In an email, Rediske’s mother told WFTV the only reason she wants her son’s story public is so that other families won’t have to go through the same thing.

    The Florida Department of Education said Thursday that if a certain number of students aren’t tested at a certain school, it could affect that school’s grade.

    It also said, in Rediske’s case, if his family didn't provide written documentation from hospice, he would not fail and the school would not lose funding.

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