Following statewide pattern, Northside, North East ISDs restrain Black and particular ed kids at disproportionate charges, report finds

When one of the first educators had to hold back Fransisco “Frankie” Treviño, the kindergarten teacher at the time had a broken elbow.

Sandra Treviño heard her son scream from the nurse’s office as she desperately arrived at Loma Park Elementary School after administrators called her while she was working.

She was later told that Frankie had been sent to the headmaster’s office for a break in class and the assistant headmaster was leading him back to class when he tried to run away from her. The administrator grabbed him and the child struggled. As Frankie pulled away from the adult, he fell on the concrete path by his arm.

“I was so angry because I’m leaving my son in their care so I know he’s protected,” said Treviño.

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Since then, other teachers have physically held Frankie several times to prevent him from acting, his mother said. A Disability Rights Texas attorney in Texas helped Treviño obtain special educational services from Edgewood ISD. Frankie, who has several diagnosed behavioral disorders, is now in third grade at Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School.

According to a recent report by Disability Rights Texas, schools across the state have had mixed experiences with the physical restraint of disruptive students, with some applying it disproportionately to black and disabled students.

The nonprofit analyzed data school districts reported to the Texas Education Agency for the 2018-2019 school year and divided a district’s total enrollments by the number of incidents to get a percentage for comparison, as school district sizes vary widely is. Districts are required to report incidents in which they use restrictions and seclusion as disciplinary tactics to both state agencies and the Department of Education.

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In Texas, schools are only allowed to use restraint systems in an emergency and in a way that protects the health and safety of students. Restrictions can include adults using their own physical strength or mechanical devices such as seat belts to restrict a child’s movement.

No school districts in San Antonio made it onto the list of Worst Disability Rights Counties in Texas. However, the report included rates for Northside and North East ISDs, as these are among the 10 largest districts in the state. Northside ISD’s retention rate as a percentage of total enrollment that year was 1.5 percent, while North East’s was less than 1 percent.

Sandra Treviño hugs her son Frankie Treviño, who was in Loma Park Elementary Kindergarten when a deputy headmaster allegedly held him back physically and broke his elbow.

Black and disabled students were disproportionately represented in incidents with reluctance in Northside and North East, said Angel Crawford, a disability rights attorney in Texas.

Northside ISD’s black student population was around 6.4 percent for the 2018/19 school year, but more than 14 percent of the total restrictions involved black students, Crawford said.

About 12 percent of Northside students have a disability, but they participated in 73 percent of the restraint systems deployed that year, Crawford said.

“The safety of students and employees is always a priority for us. Our protocols include training for identified employees on how to effectively de-escalate situations where a student may pose a threat to themselves or others, ”Northside ISD said in a prepared response.

“Our protocols also include training on the appropriate use of physical restraint as a last resort. The use of restraint systems is always used to prevent a child from harming themselves or others. “

Sandra Treviño hugs her son Frankie Treviño, who was in Loma Park Elementary Kindergarten when a deputy headmaster allegedly held him back physically and broke his elbow.

North East ISD also used restrictions on black children that were more than double the enrollment percentage. That year, about 7.3 percent of students were black, but black children accounted for 15.6 percent of all restrictions.

The percentage of all restrictions involving disabled students in the Northeast is even higher than in Northside, at 83 percent. About 10 percent of NEISD students have a disability, Crawford said.

“Depending on a student’s disability and individual behavioral disorders, the student may be withheld more than once throughout the year,” North East ISD responded in a statement stressing that restrictions are a last resort.

On It has held back hundreds of students, according to Northside ISD, but software hasn’t reported it

“Unfortunately we have students suffering from a variety of mental health and disability challenges that result in their situation being viewed as an imminent danger to themselves or others. In these cases we are legally obliged to hold back, ”the statement said.

“The practice for the district is to follow a short process after reluctance to discuss the history of behavior that led to reluctance, behavior and response from staff. This process is part of the district’s efforts to use the most proactive means possible to continuously improve the needs of our students. “

The district also questioned the completeness of the TEA data, saying that school districts are only required to report incidents with reluctance for students with individual education plans.

Schools in Texas have been trying to provide special education services for years, and proponents say parents had to beg or threaten to have their children screened for special needs. The federal government found that the state is violating federal disability laws and mandating changes, but the TEA is still non-compliant, despite some progress.

Edgewood officials said their retention rate was 4.7 percent compared to enrollment for the 2018-19 period, still high but not enough to be included in the study’s top 10 “worst reporters” list will.

“Edgewood ISD’s Special Education Department works with the Crisis Prevention Institute to offer extensive training and recertification each year. The use of restraint systems is always the final form of redirecting behavior, with the safety of students being a priority, ”read a statement made in response to an interview request.

Frankie and his mother looked into the long-term effects of the incident when he broke his elbow. Frankie fears the deputy headmaster and has bad memories of Loma Park, which they still live near.

Treviño believes the main cause of the incident was that educators initially refused to screen Frankie for mental and behavioral disorders, leaving him unable to receive special educational services that could have prevented the situation. Meanwhile, Treviño said, she was often called to pick Frankie from school because he was acting out.

District officials recognized the need for more specialized screening and, in late 2019, worked with Texas A&M University in San Antonio to create an autism assessment program.

Treviño, who graduated from Edgewood Memorial High School, said she was disappointed with her home district. Just this year, and with help from Disability Rights Texas, Treviño said Edgewood had held meetings with a formal committee to review Frankie’s special needs.

She knows Frankie isn’t the only child who’s been delayed. She is connected to other parents who have also waited years.

“I need Edgewood to make a difference, not just for Frankie, but for all of the special children who need that help,” said Treviño. “Because they are literally our future.”

Krista Torralva covers several school districts and public universities in the San Antonio and Bexar Counties. To read more from Krista, become a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @KMTorralva

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