Ellen Stone: Parents are the only heroes in the Mays case
May 9, 2011
To the Editor:
While working for Grand County Public Health, I had the privilege of working with the Mays family for 2 years. I attended many meetings with the school staff, Grand County Social Services, with her family in her home and telephone conferences with nationally recognized Prader-Willi Syndrome experts in education and behavior management.
I was completely appalled and DISGUSTED by the court and the statements made by the county attorney. None of their claims or statements are in any way backed up by the facts of this case. I called Erika immediately to offer my support. Erika and Aaron are exceptionally devoted parents and have exhausted every possible avenue to provide Sammi with every opportunity to learn and thrive. I have been at meetings where Nancy Karas has broken in to tears and embraced Erika stating, “I don’t know how much longer you can do this. You are incredible.” I have also heard Taunia Shipman of Social Services state, ” I don’t know what we will do when Erika and Aaron can’t manage her at home anymore.”
Grand County KNEW Sammi was kept home by incredibly devoted and self-educated parents long past the most serious indicators and advice of national experts. BUT this is Grand County where County Manager Lurline Underbrink-Curran TELLS the Director of Public Health who to hire. How are ALL of you, in Public Health, Home Health, Social Services and County Administration, able to justify this to yourselves?
Oh, that’s right – you still have your jobs. Tell me, how do Curran and Jack DiCola get away with their controlling and intimidating behavior? People “warn” me that I should expect legal retaliation and harassment if I send this letter. Last I knew, Grand County was still in the United States of America where free speech is a right. I applaud the newspaper for researching and printing this story. My own conscience requires that I not remain silent.
But, have no doubt, the only heroes here are Erika and Aaron Mays- my thoughts and prayers are with you.