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High School Won't Allow Injured Queens Teen To Learn From Home

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Queens teenager is in the battle with her high school, saying she should be allowed to learn from home.

But as CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported exclusively, the Department of Education does not agree.

High school senior M'Kayah Walker of Woodside, Queens, said she was injured while playing soccer.

"I was playing soccer. Kids fell on top of me," she said. "And I found out my knees were dislocated."

That sports injury has Walker struggling to get around on crutches. But she never dreamed it would disrupt her academic future.

She said making it up the steps and in to William Cullen Bryant High School in Woodside is painful.

Her mother requested home instruction for Walker, allowing the teen to graduate with her peers. The answer was no -- not once, but twice.

"Just give me the home schooling so I can get my diploma," she said.

Instead, the school issued her an elevator pass. But getting to it was tough and then she says she had to wait.

"They have taken more than 15 minutes to open the elevator," she said. "When I use it, I'm late, and the teachers yell at me."

CBS 2 attempted to speak to Bryant High School principal Namita Dwarka, but was told to leave.

When CBS 2 asked about Walker's two petitions for home instruction, the Department of Education issued a response.

"Everybody has a right to request this service and it's taken on a case by case basis," the department said. "We're still looking in to this."

To help Walker avoid stairs, her guidance counselor and some of her teachers have been sending coursework home to her. But for every day she doesn't walk in to the school building, she gets marked absent.

"I don't know if it's money, or if it's incompetence, or whatever it is -- it's wrong," said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th).

Van Bramer said Walker is being "unnecessarily delayed."

"She just wants to graduate," the councilman said.

And the ordeal is not easy for Walker either.

"Now I'm depressed," she said.

Walker waits to find out when she'll graduate, eager to go on to college and major in psychology.

Next month, Walker gets surgery to repair her knee. Without home instruction, she believes she won't be able to graduate until next summer.

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