Houston mom of 3 recovering from shooting juggling to bridge sons' digital divide

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We know the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed major inequalities for underserved students. At no fault of their own, hundreds, if not thousands, of students in Houston are falling behind this school year because they cannot access reliable technology and internet services.

Angelina Flores is the mother of three boys, one of whom has autism, and in their house, there's only one laptop. So just imagine the chaos of virtual learning.


RELATED: Join ABC13's laptop drive and help underserved Houston students succeed
"Just minimizing tabs, and logging in, and logging out, and taking turns, and having to sacrifice one class for another, like telling Benjamin, 'You can't go into this class because Sebastian needs to come in and go to his class,'" she explained.

SEE ALSO: Superintendents focus on bridging digital divide
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Heading towards the end of the second week of classes, Houston ISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan gave a key progress report to bridge the digital divide with students.



If that wasn't enough to deal with, on Sept. 13, Flores was driving to pick up dinner for the boys when she was caught right in the middle of a drive-by shooting. Houston police say it was a shootout involving gangs. When the gunfire stopped, the mother of three had been shot in the arm.


"I have this stiffness and soreness everywhere. There is where the bullet entered, while I was trying to block my head," said Flores.

Flores is in occupational therapy and can't use her arm very well. But this mom's main focus has been her boys and their education.
"He finally told me, 'I cannot learn virtually. I'm going to have to go to school,'" Flores said about her oldest son. "He goes, 'I know there's COVID-19 around, but I'm just going to have to risk it so that I can learn and not fail.'"

SEE ALSO: HISD parents question online learning due to digital divide
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The new school year at HISD starts soon and with some students learning online it was found that technological difficulty is just one of the reasons they could become disengaged.




The kids had gone back to in-person learning, but with new technology and new laptops coming from DePelchin Children's Center and ABC13, the boys can now learn safely right in their home classrooms, outfitted by mom.

"It's just going to be a big relief for all three of them having something on their own," said Flores. "Emotionally I'm feeling better but when it comes to pain I'm still in a lot of pain I'm doing occupational therapy three times a week."



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