School will allow teen with cerebral palsy to attend prom - WSMV News 4

School will allow teen with cerebral palsy to attend prom

Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV) Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)

Ashley Hamblin, a Cheatham County homebound student is going to her high school prom.

The 18-year-old was initially denied tickets because of school protocol.

Last month, Channel 4 asked why Ashley was denied tickets. The school district sent the following response:

The Cheatham County School District’s top priority is to ensure all students are exposed to a challenging and safe educational experience.

Students who participate in the School District’s Homebound Program are provided with the policies and guidelines at the beginning of the enrollment process, outlining the expectations of the program.

For example, one of the guidelines states, ‘The doctor recommends homebound services for a student who is unable to attend school due to serious illness or injury. Therefore, the student placed on homebound should not return to his/her school, or any other Cheatham County School for any reason, including extracurricular activities (i.e. ballgames/sporting events, proms, banquets, dances, etc.). No homebound student can visit any Cheatham County School to socialize with their friends. Attendance at such activities without prior consent may result in the student’s removal from the Homebound Program.’

There are steps in place for exceptions to the policy for attending extracurricular activities such as a prom.

The School District is currently reviewing the process and will continue to work with families to ensure proper procedures are followed.

The district sent Ashley an exempt April 28. She filled it out and once reviewed by district officials, they determined she will be allowed to attend dance on May 20.

But she was told something else last week.

“I went to go buy the tickets and they told me it was illegal,” Ashley said.

Cheatham County Schools officials said it was protocol.

“I am sorry you deem me too sick to come to prom,” Ashley said.

Ashley's grandmother, Glenda Turner, said she was taking it worse than Ashley.

“It’s very hurtful. It makes you angry. But it's happy in a sense because I know just by talking to her she's OK with it and it makes me proud of her,” Turner said.

But the rest of the family isn’t OK with it.

“I think my sister should go because they are letting everyone else go and not her,” said Ashley’s sister, Addie Bromley.

“I don't think it's fair other girls get to go to prom but Ashley doesn't,” Zane Turner said.

Ashley said attending school functions has never been an issue before.

“For me not to be able to socialize with them or attend a football game like I’ve done in the past, it's really upsetting,” Ashley said.

She wants the policy to change so that each situation to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“I just want other people, if I can't go to prom, to be able to go,” Ashley said.

She told Channel 4 last week she hoped the school district to would have a change of heart.

“I hope they change their mind seeing I am being so positive about it. It's all good. No hard feelings about it,” she said.

Now that they have, Ashley said Wednesday she is elated about it:

I'm so incredibly grateful for all the support I've been given throughout this community. But I'm especially grateful for all my peers at the high school who have had my back this entire ordeal. It makes me so happy and I appreciate it more than they know. Do I think this will help this will help kids in the future? Absolutely. I think it will help in the sense that, the policy will HAVE to be explained a lot better. I think that this will definitely help other kids avoid what I've had to go through. I'm so happy that I could help be a voice for others and at the end of the day, I spread awareness.

The school district issued the following statement Wednesday about its decision to allow Ashley to attend prom:

The Cheatham County School District has worked with the family to ensure proper Homebound Program procedures were followed.

The family was notified of the procedures and the Homebound Review Committee approved the student’s request to attend the Cheatham County Central High School prom.

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