Oklahoma Students Thrilled With Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Ruling

<p>Students with disabilities and their parents are celebrating after the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program is constitutional.</p>

Wednesday, February 17th 2016, 7:57 pm

By: News On 6


Students with disabilities and their parents are celebrating after the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program is constitutional.

The program allows students to attend private schools.

About 75 percent of the students who attend the private Town and Country School in Tulsa are able to go there because of the scholarship.

Without it, they'd likely go back into the public system which, students say, they've already tried.

Town and Country junior, Julianna Zuel, is proudly wearing her class ring; but for months, she was worried she wouldn't be able to graduate from the school she loves so much.

"The teachers, they make it a lot easier for us," she said.

Zuel has dyslexia and has been attending the school since fifth grade. She said it's allowed her to accomplish things she couldn't have done anywhere else.

"I finally passed my eighth-grade reading test, and then, after that, I was able to get my license, and now I'm a full-fledged driver," Zuel said.

She and many of her classmates are there because of the Lindsey Nicole Henry Act. It established a scholarship fund for parents of disabled children to receive scholarship money to send their children to private schools.

Students must meet certain requirements to qualify, including attending a public school for at least one year and having autism, ADHD or another learning disability.

Executive Director Loretta Keller said, "You might walk into a classroom and you would see a pedal desk for our ADHD students who need to be in constant movement."

There are also bouncy balls in each classroom, along with a variety of chairs available to students, and small class sizes to give them individualized attention.

A district court had ruled the scholarship program was unconstitutional, threatening the future of students at the school; but, this week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed that decision.

2/16/2016 Related Story: OK Supreme Court Upholds Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program

"It means I get to graduate and be able to finish my schooling, and now I have the chance to," Zuel said.

There are 50 schools in the state where the scholarship is accepted, but Town and Country, by far, has the most students taking advantage of it.

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