• Texas mother waits months for digicam in daughter’s Particular Schooling class
    Special Education

    Texas mother waits months for digicam in daughter’s Particular Schooling class

    AUSTIN (KXAN) – Kamaris Morales and Ashley Curry dwell on reverse sides of the state. However they’ve multiple factor in frequent.

    They each have youngsters who’re non-verbal and have autism attending Texas public faculties. They each tried to get cameras put in of their youngster’s particular training lecture rooms.

    They each have had no luck.

    Morales requested a digicam be put in in her 9-year-old daughter Religion’s particular training class, situated in Houston, initially of the varsity 12 months.

    Houston ISD authorized the request in September 2021, information present, however the college 12 months is now over — and a digicam continues to be not put in and operational.  

    The district stated in a press release it “makes each effort to adjust to the 45-day deadline as soon as parental requests are obtained for cameras to be put in in self-contained lecture rooms. Sadly, as has been the case nationwide, provide chain points have induced indefinite delays for crucial parts to finish such requests.”

    “They suppose that we’re requesting these as a result of we need to make drama,” Morales stated. “It’s not like that. There are children — like my youngster, she is nonverbal. There are children in there which can be non-verbal. These cameras would assist.”

    The shortage of cameras in particular training lecture rooms may be problematic if anybody suspects abuse of a pupil who’s unable to speak.

    A particular training director at Hutto Impartial College District – and one other worker – had been criminally charged with assault and illegal restraint of a non-verbal Hutto Excessive College pupil with extreme autism in 2020. The case resulted in a mistrial in Might.

    There have been no surveillance cameras put in in any of the particular training lecture rooms on the time, in response to the varsity district. Within the years since, the district stated it nonetheless has not positioned cameras in these rooms.

    “Digital camera set up relies on father or mother request. We presently wouldn’t have any put in. Up thus far no father or mother has ever made the request,” the Hutto ISD spokesperson stated in an electronic mail assertion.

    However mother and father are usually not the one folks allowed to request cameras in particular training lecture rooms. Texas legislation requires college districts to put in cameras when a college board member or any district worker requests one be put in – if it meets the standards.

    Including cameras to lecture rooms

    Mother and father have solely had the flexibility to request a digicam in sure particular training lecture rooms since 2015 — when lawmakers handed Senate Invoice 507. However there are stipulations.

    The legislation solely requires college districts to put in cameras in lecture rooms the place many of the college students are in a particular training setting no less than half of the time.

    For fogeys requesting a digicam, their pupil should additionally spend their day in a particular training classroom no less than half the time.

    A KXAN evaluation of greater than 100 requests to seven Central Texas College Districts discovered most requests for cameras in particular training lecture rooms had been authorized.

    However we discovered a number of circumstances the place a college district denied the request — the coed concerned was receiving particular training companies, however the digicam request was rejected as a result of the classroom itself didn’t meet the standards.

    Austin Impartial College District has authorized greater than 40 requests for cameras to be put in in particular training lecture rooms and denied 14 requests since 2016.

    In a single request from 2018, an Austin ISD elementary college principal requested cameras be put in in two particular training lecture rooms.

    She stated in an electronic mail “the cameras are wanted for the security of my employees and college students, however college students are usually not scheduled in these areas for greater than half the day.”

    In response, the district’s particular training workplace replied to it “was solely obligated to position and function video/audio surveillance gear in a self-contained classroom or setting related pupil or employees member is assigned.”

    What’s a self-contained classroom?

    A particular training classroom the place a majority of the scholars are in a particular training setting no less than half of the time.

    The principal withdrew the request the subsequent day.  

    From 12 months to 12 months, college districts usually require mother and father and different requesters, comparable to lecturers and faculty staff, to re-submit a request for a digicam within the particular training classroom.

    The cameras in some circumstances had been already put in and operational however could be turned off except somebody acquired a brand new request authorized.  

    Mother and father and others push for higher entry

    Curry, the mom of three youngsters who obtain particular training companies within the Hillsboro ISD, requested by way of electronic mail for a digicam to be put in in one of many particular training lecture rooms in April 2022.

    Curry stated she was by no means knowledgeable that there have been already cameras put in — however not getting used.

    Hillsboro ISD Superintendent Vicki Adams confirmed all of the self-contained particular training lecture rooms within the district’s college buildings presently have cameras put in.

    However Adams stated, “if, in any respect doable, we don’t use them except we’ve got a risky state of affairs and we are attempting to guard the employees and different college students.”

    A number of college districts all through Central Texas don’t enable mother and father to have bodily copies of surveillance video exhibiting their college students — and solely enable viewings of the footage. Curry stated she in the end determined to not transfer ahead with making a proper request for a digicam in her youngster’s classroom.

    “The hoops you must bounce by way of is 100% to discourage the mother and father away from gaining access to these cameras,” Curry stated. “Even if you do have entry, you’re not allowed to have the footage.”

    Earlier than Texas lawmakers handed the present legislation, permitting mother and father to request cameras, there was a push by the now Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to require college districts to proactively set up cameras in all their self-contained particular training lecture rooms.

    The legislature estimated on the time the legislation would value roughly $2.2 million to execute.

    Advocacy teams, like Incapacity Rights Texas, just lately renewed that push, asking the legislature to replace the present legislation to mandate college districts set up cameras in all their remoted lecture rooms the place college students with disabilities are with educators.

    “It is going to serve the perfect curiosity of the educators to guard them to indicate what really occurred earlier than an incident — and it’ll shield these college students as a deterrent to probably life-threatening habits by educators,” stated Incapacity Rights Texas Coverage Director Steven Aleman.

    In an interview with KXAN, Texas Rep. Donna Howard, who sponsored the failed 2013 invoice, supported amending the legislation to require college districts to put in cameras however says lawmakers must also present the funds to highschool districts to conform.

    “I don’t suppose it’s unreasonable to require cameras in these lecture rooms which can be self-contained, the place college students don’t have any skill to report or maintain themselves, shield themselves,” Rep. Howard stated. “We should always not need to put the burden on the mother and father to request it.”

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  • A Texas law could stop schools from teaching how these children were forced to stay in first grade for 3 years
    Teaching

    A Texas law could stop schools from teaching how these children were forced to stay in first grade for 3 years

    Enrique Alemán Jr., 50, has spent the past few years talking with numerous students in Texas and across the United States about how his mother and other Mexican American children in Driscoll, Texas, were treated in the 1950s by school officials who claimed they couldn’t speak or understand English.

    “I think it’s very bad for students of all races to not talk about the uncomfortable aspects of our history. And it’s especially bad for Latino youth to not understand that Texas has been a violent, racist, discriminatory place to live,” Alemán Jr. told CNN.

    Critical race theory has become a social and political lightning rod. This is how we got here

    HB3979 states that social studies teachers can’t “require” or include in their courses, the concept that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” or the concept that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

    It also notes that “a teacher may not be compelled to discuss a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs.” Teachers, according to the bill, also can’t require or give extra credit for a student’s political activism.

    The legislation proposed by Senate Republicans, SB3, intends to extend the restrictions to all teachers, regardless of subject or grade level.

    Mexican American children sued their school and won

    In 1955, a group of children and their parents sued the Driscoll Consolidated Independent School District for placing Mexican American children in the first grade for a period of three years solely because they were of Mexican descent, according to the federal lawsuit.

    The school district in Driscoll, a town of nearly 800 people about two hours south of San Antonio, said in court that students were only placed in separate classrooms because of their lack of English proficiency. School officials said it deprived other students from teachers’ attention and instruction, and not because of their country of origin, court documents show.

    After several students appeared in court to testify that they were fluent in English, US District Judge James V. Allred ruled in 1957 that it was unreasonable to place students in separate classrooms based their race or origin.
    Lupe Alemán was a fourth generation Texan and was fluent in English when she and her sisters enrolled in first grade at a Driscoll, Texas, school.

    CNN reached out to the current superintendent and board members of the Driscoll Independent School District for comment multiple times.

    Alemán Jr. was about 10 years old when he picked up his mother’s high school yearbook and his mother shared two details of her life that, at the time, he didn’t comprehend.

    As a young girl in Driscoll, Lupe Alemán was part of a court case, and by the time she graduated high school, she was nearly 21 years old, Alemán Jr. says his mother told him.

    It was more than two decades later that Alemán Jr. realized what his mother was referring to.

    Alemán Jr. was 33 years old when he saw a documentary on TV about Hector P. Garcia, a Texas civil rights advocate who founded the American G.I. Forum, a group that helped Mexican American veterans fight discrimination. The documentary recounts Garcia’s life and activism, including how the group filed a federal lawsuit in the mid-1950s against the school district in Driscoll.
    Lupe Alemán was 20 years when she graduated high school in Bishop, Texas, her son says. She was the school's first Mexican American homecoming queen.

    “I immediately had a flashback and remembered what my mother told me,” he said.

    His mother, who was born in Driscoll, lived there until she was a young adult and would have been about 9 years old when the lawsuit was filed, Alemán Jr. said.

    But he couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask his mother about the case. His mom had died a few months before he watched the documentary, he said.

    “I was amazed and I was upset,” Alemán Jr. said, adding that his mother and two of his aunts testified in court. “I didn’t understand why nobody ever talked about it.”

    As Alemán Jr. continued his education and he focused his research on the inequities that Black and brown students face in school, he couldn’t forget about his family’s history.

    In 2012, he traveled across Texas to meet several of the children who testified along with his mother for the Hernandez v Driscoll CISD case and produced a documentary called “Stolen Education.”

    He learned that some were punished for speaking Spanish in school or had seen classmates being paddled by teachers. Some graduated high school and others dropped out of school to work or join the military, he said.

    They went on with their lives, Alemán Jr. says, but “there’s still something in them that feels like they didn’t reach their full potential because of the way that they started out.”

    Enrique Alemán Jr., center, stands next to his parents Lupe and Enrique Alemán Sr. during his 1997 graduation from Columbia University in New York City.

    There’s been a long fight for ethnic studies in Texas

    Educators and advocates say they are concerned the new law will have negative implications for the decades-long effort to make the history being taught in Texas schools more inclusive.

    More than 52% of the 5.3 million children enrolled in kindergarten to 12th grade across Texas in the last school year were Hispanic or Latino, Texas Education Agency (TEA) data shows.

    Yet, curriculum standards to teach Mexican American studies, only as an elective high school course, were only approved in 2018 after years of debate.

    Sonia Hernandez, an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University, who works with the nonprofit Refusing to Forget to shine light on the killings of Mexican Americans by Texas Rangers in the 1910s and 1920s, said she was saddened to see that an “unfounded idea” could become a set back for advocates and educators in the state.

    “Just so many years of great effort are being pushed aside because of the unfounded idea that if we talk about issues of racial inequality, if we talk about how certain groups of people were marginalized and were treated as second- class citizens — even if they were in fact US citizens — that would lead to some kind of unpatriotic history,” Hernandez said.

    “We are doing our students a disservice, we are telling them that we think they’re not intellectually equipped to understand a complex history of their own country,” she added.

    Texas Senate advances bill to restrict how race, nation's history is taught in schools
    For Tony Diaz, an author and activist, the new law and efforts around the “critical race theory” legislation echoes the sentiment behind the Arizona law that banned Mexican American studies in public schools about a decade ago.

    “Those same tendencies are back in a new form,” said Diaz, who campaigned against the ban in Arizona schools by launching Librotraficante, a caravan to take books banned under the same law to Arizona.

    The Texas law intends to intimidate teachers, Diaz says, and it will take similar “very profound grassroots campaign” to overturn it.

    Weeks before the new law goes into effect, it’s still unclear how schools will implement it. The TEA has not yet issued guidance for schools and the agency hasn’t yet responded to CNN’s request for comment.

    Angela Valenzuela, an education policy professor at the University of Texas, said the law doesn’t address how schools will implement or enforce it.

    “I think ultimately it is intended to create division at the grassroots level to empower parents that feel their children are being hurt by either teaching concepts like white supremacy, white privilege, the history of racism and slavery,” Valenzuela said.

    For Alemán Jr., who is now a Lillian Radford endowed professor of education at Trinity University and teachers classes for education leaders, the educational system in the state has in part “never wanted Latinos, African Americans and women to even know their own part” in history.

    Learning what happened to his mother and other Mexican American children in Driscoll changed the purpose of Alemán’s work. It also made him feel close to his mom even decades after she passed away.

    It’s empowering to know where you come from and that feeling, he says, it’s something he hopes more Latinos and students of color can feel while they are in school.