Lakeland school for special needs children closes without an explanation

Posted at 5:47 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 17:48:20-04

An investigation has opened up into a Lakeland school for children with special needs.

ABC Action News first told you about the Monarch School losing state funding last week.

Now, the school for children with autism has officially closed without an explanation.

“It’s been very rough,” Brittany Lesnett, a parent said.

More than 60 children now are without school, and their parents’ trust broken after spending thousand to send them to a private school in Lakeland.

“This morning alone he said 'mommy why did I get kicked out of another school' that just broke my heart because he didn't get kicked out,” Lesnett said.

Monday, Monarch School left a note on the front door, without explaining.

“I could cry, I'm so frustrated,” Lesnett said.

Dozens of other parents are in the same situation, scrambling to find new schools from their children.

For those who have, the price of admission has doubled, if not tripled at neighboring schools.

“I was in complete and utter shock. I just transferred my daughter there at the end of last year and she's been doing really well,” Crystal Spell said.

Spell’s child suffers from severe anxiety and meltdowns. Big changes like switching schools can have drastic consequences.

“She can't understand why she can't go back,” Spell said.

Investigators are looking into the school closing, focusing on the use of the funds parents paid into the Monarch School.

“The teachers haven't had any money since the beginning of August, so for two months,” Lesnett explained. “Some of them didn't have food to eat and we didn't realize they were starving. Some of them don't have gas for their car. It's a really bad situation.”

Parents say now that their children are situated at new schools, they are focusing on getting justice for their children and for their teachers.

ABC Action News tried to get ahold of the head of Monarch School, Randy Coggins, but have not heard from them.

Since the closing, the Monarch School’s Facebook page has been deleted.