LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With school out until at least May, Marini and Tarik Smith find themselves facing a special challenge as they work to homeschool their two children.

Marini is a full-time college professor and Tarik is a full-time school counselor.

“Our lives have been kind of flipped upside down, to be honest with you,” Marini said.

The Smiths have turned their dining room into a learning center, affectionately called Smith Academy, for their second grader Noah.

But homeschooling has proven to be more difficult for 6-year-old Colson, who has a rare genetic condition that leaves him unable to speak or stand.

“It’s been definitely challenging,” Marini said. “We have so many unique needs in the house.”

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The Smiths have help from a nurse and Marini’s mom, but Jenny Hontz, who works for parent advocacy organization Speak UP, said LAUSD was not doing enough to support parents of children with special needs.

“Right now, not all kids are getting an equal education,” she said. “It’s very inequitable.”

LAUSD, which has been focusing on getting students what they need to learn remotely, says on its website that it’s “developing a plan to provide the support to students.”

Hontz said she spoke with Superintendent Austin Beutner a few weeks ago and hoped that the district would have a plan in place to support students with special needs within two weeks.


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