Lakeland special needs school suddenly closes, parents not able to get children’s things out

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Parents are outraged after a special needs school suddenly closed. 

Last week News Channel 8 revealed that the Monarch School in Lakeland lost state funding.

Parents tell WFLA that school officials lead them to believe the school would not close.

“I’m really disappointed,” Crystal Spell told us in tears.

Spell is one of nearly 70 parents devastated by the sudden closure.

The mother of four had to enroll her autistic daughter in a new school, pay more enrollment fees and buy all new school supplies all in the past few days.

“They wouldn’t even let us get her supplies that we bought. At least let the children go there and get their stuff that they need. There’s people that have medicine in there and they need to get their medicine,” Spell said.

Her sister Summer Dubose is in the same situation with her autistic son.

“They have to have a routine. Now, my son was crying Sunday night because I have to explain to him that he’s going to a new school,” Dubose said.

State officials confirmed last week that the Monarch School lost funding because they did not fill out the required paperwork.

Last week, school officials posted on their Facebook that they were restructuring and had no intentions of closing.

Parents tell News Channel 8 they feel betrayed.

We tried to speak with Pastor Randy Coggins and his wife Sandy Coggins who run the school. They did not return telephone calls and were not at their last known address, or their church “Perfecting Hope Church” in Winter Haven.

Court documents show that Randy Coggins was charged with stealing thousands in food stamps and other benefits earlier in 2017, but pled guilty to a lesser charge.

“All of that scholarship money and people that were paying tuition, where did it go?” Dubose questioned.

“It makes Christians look bad for them to do something like this to parents,” Spell said in tears.

Lakeland police are aware of the closure. Police are urging parents to file a police report if they suspect wrongdoing.

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