Parents angry at HISD for planning to move special education students to home schools

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Saturday, November 19, 2022
HISD's plan to move special education students from T.H. Rogers School to home campuses angers parents
Parents worry that, by splitting up the kids, they will lose resources and their community: "We chose to be a part of the community, because this is lonely, doing this alone."

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Outrage boiled over at an Houston Independent School District meeting Friday morning, as parents blasted district leaders for a plan to move special education students to different schools.

For years, T.H Rogers School in west Houston has served the district's most severely disabled students as part of its PSI, or Preparing Students for independence Program. Parents believe this will separate them from a community they've built over years.

"People don't realize, when it's your child, the emotions just come out," parent Jose Sanchez explained. "I don't care how hard you are, your emotions come up because you care about your kids so much."

On Friday, Nov. 15, HISD officials announced a plan to move all 49 students in the district's PSI program to their individual neighborhood schools.

They explained they're doing so to comply with the state's education standards requiring special needs students to mix with other students.

"We are here today because we are in a dilemma. Right now, T.H. Rogers doesn't have that full continuum of services," Executive Director of HISD's Office of Special Education Services Cindy Hoppman explained. "I apologize that you were not involved when these discussions happened."

District officials say they are moving forward with the plan, under the direction of the TEA, but they are scheduling a follow up meeting with parents.

Parents worry that, by splitting up the kids, they will lose highly trained aides and shared resources.

Most importantly, they don't want to lose their community. Many students, who range in age from 3 to 22 years old, have attended T.H. Rogers for several years.

"We could have gone to our home schools if we wanted to. We did not want to," parent who said she will be hiring an attorney, Julie Beeson, said. "We chose to be a part of the community because this is lonely, doing this alone."

Here is the full statement from HISD:

HISD is committed to ensuring all students have access to the best environment to ensure an exceptional educational experience. In an effort to ensure the least restrictive environment (LRE) for our forty-nine 1st 12th grade Preparing Students for Independence (PSI) special education students at the T.H. Rogers School, we will be transitioning these students to their home/neighborhood campuses (with PSI programs) for the 2023-2024 school year. This decision was made at the direction of the TEA.

ABC13 has reached out to the TEA for more information but has not heard back yet.

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