Mike Page is frustrated. His son Skylar has Down Syndrome, but Mike says his son is considered high functioning. Mike is proud his son passed his written driving test.
“We have just always encouraged Skylar to be as independent as he can be,” said Page. “And when he practiced driving with us, he was just as good at it as our other kids.”
But Skylar failed the state driving test on the first try. And, Mike says Skylar can no longer drive and practice after the state pulled his driver’s permit.
Page called the state to ask why.
“Well, they’ve told me multiple different things. They gave me different stories different times I’ve called,” said Page.
Page says the driving instructor that failed Skylar on his driving test wrote a “letter of concern” to the state after the failed test. But, Page adds, that driving instructor told Skylar to keep practicing and that he would easily pass the next time he took the driving test.
“So, Skylar can’t practice driving,” says Page. “His permit was pulled, and now, we can’t go out and practice on the roads.”
Page wrote a letter to the Kansas Department of Revenue, and the Division of Vehicles. In the letter, he asks to have the suspension removed from Skylar’s learner’s permit.
But the permit remains suspended.
KSN asked Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, who is currently working on legislation dealing with suspended licenses, what would be the next steps, if any, for Skylar and his father.
“Well, honestly, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening,” said Faust-Goudeau. “If he (Skylar) was granted a permit in the first place, then who looked into this and said you’ve got to take it away?”
Page has asked if his son’s Down Syndrome is somehow related to the suspension.
“I dealt with the state for eight months or more sending letters and things and just wanted his learner’s permit back because they (driving test instructor) believed he had the skill within a year, keep practicing, he’d be able to pass his driving test,” said Page. “We didn’t know if we’d ever want to have him drive by himself but wanted him to have a restricted license or a learner’s permit because he enjoyed driving.”
Page says he wants his son to have the independence of driving, even if it is with he or his wife in the car. Page also had a special “emergency” brake installed in a car for Skylar while he has been learning to drive.
Page has continued to ask the State of Kansas for answers. And he says he’s been getting answers with what he calls varying explanations.
“First, it was the law, and then when I got the law, I read it, and I said I don’t see anything in there that talks about what you’re doing,” said Page regarding the learner’s permit being pulled. “Then, they said it was policy, and I asked for the policy, and I could never get the policy.”
KSN asked the Department of Revenue, which oversees the Division of Vehicles, if they have been in contact with the family.
Rachel Whitten, a spokesperson for the Department, sent a response.
“As you can imagine, public safety is the foremost concern in this and every driving test,” wrote Whitten. “Everyone who tests has to meet the same standard. The Division of Vehicles continues to be in contact and work with this student driver and his father.”
Page says he is still seeking answers.
“It’s not really all about driving. It’s about principle of what’s going on,” said Page. “I think it’s more probably a misunderstanding.”