School Opens for Students With Disabilities

LAS VEGAS -- Almost 34,000 students attending the Clark County School District have special educational needs, but only four schools are set up to teach these children.

On Wednesday, a building at John Miller Elementary School, 1905 Atlantic Street, opened to help more than special needs students and is equipped to handle those with multiple disabilities.

Principal Jean Trudell said she never thought this day would come, and proudly cut the ribbon on the future.

For Azure Irvine, life has mainly been confined to a motorized wheelchair.

"He's a fighter," said Isaac Irvine, Azure's father. "He's had to fight his whole life to live."

Azure suffers from cerebral palsy and autism and can barely see a few feet in front of him.

"We knew we were going to be those parents that require special needs with special care," said Jennifer Winchester, Azure's mother.

With all the Azure's disabilities, his parents said they knew he needed a special school that could work with students -- such as Azure -- with multiple disabilities.

Azure's parents turned to the John Miller school, but the old school was in such disrepair, teaching became nearly impossible.

"In the old school, the hallways were really small," Isaac Irvine said.

That wasn't the only problem.

"I was always very concerned about all of the power going down and all of the medical equipment our students needed power for," Trudell said.

Trudell pleaded with the school district to open a new special school.

The new school is one of a kind, built just for students like Azure.

"The huge hallways with big doors," Trudell said as she described the school. "Hallways with textures for those kids visually impaired so they can learn what hallway they're in."

The school has a special medical facility able to teach and treat children with disabilities.

The Irvines walked through the new school with relief on their faces, knowing their son will now have the chance to receive the proper care and attention he deserves.

"He probably would have ended up being in a home or stay at home with us," Isaac Irvine said.

The school cost the district $18 million to build through the 1998 bond fund.


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