JURUPA VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A California school district has come under fire after a vocal parent of a special needs student complained her teenager was forced to sift through garbage as part of the school's recycling program, which is not included in the mainstream curriculum.
The program first came under fire when Carmen Wells, a parent of a newly enrolled special needs student, complained to the school district and the media upon seeing her son upset and dirty after the first day of school.
"[My daughter] felt stigmatized," Rhonie Lizarraga, a parent of a former Patriot Valley High School student, said at a school board meeting.
"I didn't find out until the story come out on the news," Lizarraga said, adding that her daughter never told her.
"Recycling is ... part of a curriculum sequence of the functional skills class," Jurupa Valley School District said in a statement.
"In this class, students collect recyclable materials. With the proceeds from the materials, teachers create mock bank accounts for students and in turn, students learn to keep a ledger, write checks and develop a budget. ... Everyone who has worked with the program and was aware of the program, ourselves included, believed it was educational and positive for all of our students."
The school suspended the program pending review, but that was not good enough for Wells, who continued to tour media outlets to express her displeasure.
"I have a child with special needs who was asked to go into a filthy trash can to pull out bottles and cans for recycling," Wells told CBS Los Angeles with disgust when the story first broke on August 13.
Since then, Wells has positioned herself as the face parental outrage, even saying the program prepares students for homelessness.
"Uh, sorry, but the message you're sending is you're training them to be homeless," Wells sassed the school board Monday.
On Friday, over a week since Wells got the program suspended and four days after the school district again formally apologized at Monday's meeting, the concerned parent took to FOX News with a new hairdo to continue to lament what she had to go through to get her way.
"They seem to be extremely excited about their recyclable program ... I'm uncomfortably shocked that this has been allowed to go on for years and they did not see anything wrong with it and actually have treated me like 'what's the big deal.'"