MUNHALL (KDKA) — The Steel Valley School Board says a little girl with special needs can use the faculty bathroom.

Tracey Montgomery, of Homestead, says she has struggled with the Steel Valley School District to get permission for her daughter, 10-year-old Kaitlin, to use a lower level bathroom.

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Finally, it happened back in February when the superintendent gave his nod of approval. But two days later came a grievance from the teachers’ union saying her daughter could not use their bathroom.

On Thursday night at the school board meeting, members voted to deny the grievance unanimously.

“I was happy with the school board,” said Montgomery.

Kaitlin – who suffers from chronic lung disease, pulmonary hypertension and autism – was homeschooled at the beginning of the year due to those illnesses. Then, in January, Montgomery went to check on the school her daughter would be attending. That’s when the problem began.

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“I asked about a bathroom,” she said. “I saw a bathroom outside the door, I said, ‘Is she able to use a bathroom on this floor?’ I was told she was not allowed to use it. I said, ‘She can’t start school till we have a bathroom.’”

Because of her illnesses, Kaitlin is unable to use bathrooms on the upper floors of the school.

And even now that she can use the faculty bathroom, Montgomery says all of her daughter’s needs still are not being met.

“She can’t get to her other classes. There are no ramps in the school, so she is not able to attend full time,” she says.

Right now, Kaitlin goes to school just two hours a day.

The family is now waiting for a needed recommendation from the Steel Valley School District to get Kaitlin enrolled in a school for special needs children.

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