As another day of class begins at Hundreds High School, it does so without one very special student, 17-year-old Roy Stevens, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
“We dropped him out, so he became Wetzel County’s newest drop out,” said Roy’s father Earl.
In recent weeks Roy has become the focal point for an entire student body after over 100 students gathered outside of the school for a peaceful protest.
“Roy was right there with them. He had his arm around them, giving them hugs. He knows those students are his friends,” said Earl.
Last week, 7News was in attendance as emotional pleas were made to the Wetzel County School Board, to keep their fellow classmate enrolled at Hundred High School.
Unfortunately for the Stevens’ family, those pleas went unheard.
“Until there is a consideration of letting him back in Hundred High School, he’s probably not going to go back to school period,” added Earl Stevens.
Another reason why the Stevens want to keep their son here at Hundred High is drive time, Hundred High School is located just a mile from their home, while Magnolia is nearly an hour away.
“They’ll call you from the school saying he’s sweaty, nauseous, and his blood pressure dropped. You can’t push him because you don’t want that to happen again, its unbearable. That’s why we stand by our decision, because it’s a risk we cannot take,” added Karen Stevens, Roy’s mother.
Although the Stevens feel their opinion about what’s best for their son is being ignored by the Board, it’s certainly not the case in the surrounding community, with support pouring in from everywhere.
“His family is here, this is where he’s going to be after high school. This is where Roy is going to live his life, this is where Roy should be,” said one resident from Hundred.
This week the Stevens are continuing their fight to get Roy re-enrolled at Hundred and have filed a complaint with the West Virginia Department of Education.
With a strong family at his side, even though he can’t speak, the 17-year-old is making it clear where he wants to graduate.
The Wetzel County School Board and Superintendent Leatha Williams have not returned our calls for comment.
The investigation into this case by the West Virginia State Board of Education could take up to 60 days, after that time the Stevens will be notified as to whether or not they will uphold the Board’s decision to not allow Roy to attend Hundred High School.
Stay with 7News and WTRF.com for further updates on this story.