Weather Alerts 2 View »

Teen with Muscular Dystrophy says testing mistake almost kept him from graduating

Teen with Muscular Dystrophy says testing mistake almost kept him from graduating

By Katie Crowther. CREATED May 26, 2013

Henderson, NV (KTNV) - Jordan Kester, 18, suffers from Muscular Dystrophy.

"I used to be able to lift my hand up to feed myself, but I can't do that anymore," he said. "I used to be able to walk, but I can't anymore. I can only grip a pencil for a few seconds."

That's why Jordan, a senior at Basic High School, needed special accommodations to take a state proficiency exam. Passing the exam is a graduation requirement.

"It's not that he doesn't have the skills, or the knowledge to do it," said Jordan's mom, Melissa. "It's just that physically, he can't write."

Melissa helped make arrangements with teachers to have someone write the test for Jordan.

"Jordan chose the answers, and had to tell them what to write in the essay, including punctuation and capitalization."

A few weeks later, Melissa said she got a call from an administrator at Basic High School saying the state misplaced Jordan's exam. The administrator said Jordan's only option was to re-take the test the next day or forego a standard high school diploma.

"Jordan is in a wheelchair and needs constant care. We need to plan ahead for things like taking a test," Melissa said. "He had a doctor appointment the next day. We can't just re-take the test on a moment's notice because of someone else's mistake. They're saying they can't give him a diploma because of it. It's just not right."

Melissa sent an email to the Nevada Department of Education, but never heard back.

"My son worked hard, and did everything correctly," she said. "He shouldn't be punished for this."

That's when Action News got involved. We reached out to Darrin Hardman with the Nevada Department of Education. After doing some research, he said Basic High School never turned in Jordan's test to be scored. Hardman said after our call, the school realized it still had the test and delivered it to state officials immediately.

The school district released the following statement:

"In accordance with state law, this student was given special accommodations to take the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam, and therefore, this test was submitted separately. This student's test will be graded in time for graduation so this student can receive a diploma.  If this parent was told her child would not receive a diploma, that was a mistake. We anticipate that all of our students will pass their high school proficiency exam until we are told otherwise by the state, and this student is no different."

All Melissa wants for her son,  who's already had to overcome so many challenges, is to get the high school diploma he deserves.

As of Sunday, it looks like Melissa will get her wish. The Nevada Department of Education and Clark County School District both confirm that Jordan will graduate.