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Learning loss on the line for girl pulled from Knox County Schools

Kimberly Peterson withdrew her daughter from school, a decision that was not easy for her.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Learning loss is on the line for a mom who opted to withdraw her daughter from Knox County Schools.

“Our state is just basically saying my child doesn’t matter,” said Kimberly Peterson. “It was a painful decision because my child is a very social child. She loves being in the classroom. "

Peterson knew that if she kept 12-year-old Tilly home, she would regress.

“When you speak of learning loss that we hear a lot about, we know as parents of children with disabilities you know we’re losing basic skills.”

Last year, Tilly was a virtual student in Knox County Schools. Peterson said while her teachers went above and beyond, Tilly didn’t get the physical, occupational, and speech therapy she needs.

“We were just really forced with a hard decision and when you have a medically fragile child, you just have to make the best decision for your family, which was to homeschool,” said Peterson.

Tilly has a rare genetic syndrome where respiratory issues are related and depends on her caregivers.

“We could not send her back without mask mandates in place, without the required social distancing,” explained Peterson. “We’re at a very great disadvantage in having her at home, but she’s healthy and she’s safe and that’s the most important thing.”

Peterson is considering sending Tilly back to KCS for spring semester, but only if there are new safety measures in place.

“I want my daughter back in school. It’s the best fit for her. And I would absolutely, if I could be assured, that there were safety, the basic safety measures that have been laid out by the CDC. We know what works. We’re just not using them.”

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