STAAR reading prep test's story offends disabled student

KATY, TX (KTRK) -- Eleven-year-old Aliyah Atiqui and her 12-year-old brother Kaiser do almost everything together.

"Me and my brother are in reading because they want to help us with the STAR test," she said.

On Wednesday, it was a homework reading assignment they read together that left them in tears.

The story, titled "Twins' Luck," describes two fictional twin brothers. Marcos is disabled in a wheelchair. Mateo is not.

In the story, Mateo feels as if his disabled brother is lucky because everything is done for him. He's fed by his parents, bathed, dressed, and gets to watch cartoons.

Then one day, Mateo has a realization that neither he nor his disabled twin brother Marcos is luckier than the other.

"I just feel very angry," Kaiser said.

Kaiser is autistic and was told by doctors he wouldn't be able to read.

"It feels like me and my brother in this story, and it feels like Kaiser is not lucky if you compare us. But it's really Kaiser is lucky like me," Aliyah said.

"I never expected him to read something like this," their mother, Michelle Rice, said.

Rice says the story is offensive and has worked hard to build-up her sons' confidence. This has set him back.

"It's inappropriate and it's not fair. And I think it discriminates against our children," Rice said.

Longtime special ed advocate Karen Mayor Cunningham agrees.

"I would like to see somebody explain this to Kaiser in a way that's palpable. He doesn't understand why someone would write that. He felt hurt in his heart and that's not OK," she said.

It's important to note that some parents have told him off camera, they don't see anything wrong with the story or its message.

We reached out for comment from Katy ISD, a representative said they are looking into this issue.
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