Every Year, the Mother of a Son With ADHD Receives $84k in Taxpayer Money to Send Her Son to Private School – He Was Expelled From Public School

By: Lydia Iseh | Last updated: Oct 10, 2023

Melissa Petro, a mother from New York, shared the story of her struggle to get her son Oscar the education he deserves. The five-year-old struggles with pathological demand avoidance, generalized anxiety disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to the Child Mind Institute’s definition of this syndrome, people are compelled to oppose perceived pressures fiercely. Oscar was expelled from a Hudson Valley public school two years ago due to his difficult conduct.

Dealing With Kids Suffering from ADHD

In all fairness to teachers and administrators in the public school systems, it can be challenging for a child with special needs to complete his elementary education in a public school. That is because children with ADHD can be difficult to instruct and require special care.


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The condition will often get such children violent and disruptive when their teachers insist they follow general instructions.


Education for Children with ADHD

Due to their peculiarities, children with ADHD need special care and attention. So, the symptoms of their condition do not mean they cannot be educated. 


Source: Scientific Animations

While ADHD cannot be cured in children, it can be managed as the child proceeds to adulthood. So, special education may help such individuals fit better and become productive members of society. However, special-care schools for children with ADHD are often private and come with a baggage of expense.

The Quest for Educational Continuity

After Oscar was expelled, Melissa Petro and her husband took him to Otto Specht, a nearby Waldorf school. Sadly, this remedy was quite expensive.


Source: melissa.petro/Instagram

Together with extra costs for Oscar’s specific accommodations and therapy, the yearly tuition costs came to close to $85,000. The couple maxed up their credit cards, exhausted their bank accounts, depleted their savings, and did all they could to pay this huge cost. They were determined to provide Oscar with the help he needed.

The Financial Implication of Having A Child with Special Care Needs

Besides draining the savings of the family, diagnosing a child with ADHD can result in psychological trauma for the parents. This can lead to a slow decline in productivity and earning capacity.


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This is one of the many reasons why the government initiated social care financing for the indigent, and families with special care needs. However, some families are exploiting the initiative, making the procedure for getting the funds difficult.

A Legal Battle for Reimbursement

Finances for her son’s schooling were only one aspect of Melissa’s resolve. The couple also filed a lawsuit against the school system to get paid back for the costs they had incurred.

Source: melissa.petro/Instagram

Their case was based on the notion that Oscar had a right to special early childhood care since it was necessary to help him progress in his education.


Navigating Controversial Perspectives

Families often encounter controversies while looking for the right services in special education. David Banks, the chancellor of the New York City schools, has accused parents of abusing the system to get their children free private education.

Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Banks believe that parents like Melissa Petro just want to take advantage of the law. Melissa noted that his claim is not true. Her family is in desperate need of assistance.


At the Whims of Social Security Administrators

There have been a few occasions of some families trying to exploit the system in a bid to absolve themselves of the responsibility of funding their children’s special education. So, administrators have made it a point of duty to plug that loophole.

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However, in trying to plug the loophole, there is the risk of making the process extra difficult for people with genuine needs. These days, the administrators in charge of special care funds seem to be subjective while deciding applications that should be approved.


An Ongoing Advocacy

This story highlights the unwavering resolve of parents who negotiate challenging systems to ensure their children with special needs receive suitable schooling. Her experience is a testimony to the value of individualized learning settings and the need for improved support systems.

Source: melissa.petro/Instagram

Melissa said, “I will never stop fighting on behalf of my kid,” echoing the views of numerous parents who support their kids’ right to an inclusive and encouraging education.


Raising Students With Special Needs Remains Expensive

From the ongoing narrative, parents still have to go through a storm of challenges before securing social funding for their special needs children. Often, they would have to prove beyond doubt that the family and child merits financial support.

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Thankfully, few parents like the Petros are not relenting in making a case for the authorities to establish a reliable system of providing special needs support to families in dire need of such.