Young Kaneohe student kept from classroom

Linda Elento
Linda Elento

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KANEOHE (KHNL) - What is the right age for kids to start kindergarten? Many families have struggled with holding their children back, or putting them in at a young age.

But one oahu family is finds this choice an impossible challenge.

Jason Elento, like any other seven year old, loves his computer games.

They're a great way for him to learn, as repetition helps him "get it".

That can sometimes be difficult because he has downs syndrome.

"Jason is really good learning with computers. One of his challenges is his fine motor skills, so writing is difficult," said his mom, Linda.

Jason should be in school right now, but instead he is home.

Because his mom feels he's not getting the right kind of help at school.

Linda wants Jason to go to Kailua Elementary, where he spent the first few days of school. But she doesn't want him in a special education resource room she wants him in a regular kindergarten classroom.

But even though Jason doesn't have the mental capabilities of a 2nd grader, the state says he needs to be with other seven year olds in 2nd grade.

The Department of Education places students by chronological age.

"Developmentally Jason is closer to 4-5 year olds based on his interests and development. We believe our son is ready for kindergarten based on what kindergarteners learn," said Linda.

Jason is currently too old for kindergarten, so while the state looks into changing the rules of the game for this young boy, he's playing his own games. To learn the fine motor skills he'll need when he does head back to school.