Three things stood out to me as I caught up with Montana's statewide Superintendent of Public Instruction after the contentious school board meeting in Billings last week.

First, you may recall that the local school board and school superintendent has been ignoring and stonewalling the family of Emily Pennington since October of last year. State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, meanwhile, says she heard from the Pennington family back on December 7th- and she replied to them ON THE SAME DAY. So the local school superintendent and school board ignores a family in their own district, but the state superintendent over all the schools in the state can respond?

Second, Arntzen mentioned during public comment at the School District 2 school board meeting on Thursday night that the case involving Emily Pennington has already been getting the attention of the federal government.

Third, Arntzen mentioned that other school districts around the state of Montana are already doing the right thing. They're taking advantage of Montana law and a new funding mechanism passed by the Republican dominated legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT).

Aaron Flint: You mentioned this last night that there's some school districts across the state that are already allowing kids just like Emily to attend their senior year and graduate even though they're 19 at the start of their senior year. There were a few you mentioned last night.

Superintendent Elsie Arntzen (R-MT): Yes, we have eight school districts that have put in for the dollars, and that means that they are looking at 11 students.

For those of you who haven't been following the case involving Emily Pennington, she is the Billings West High School cheerleader with Down Syndrome. Due to the school district's "age out" policy, they are blocking Emily from being able to enjoy her senior year and graduate with her friends. The case got national attention over the weekend by Fox News.

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