Brownsville Educators Association Says IBDD Breaches Special Education Act
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO– The Brownsville Educators Association submitted a public comment at the Brownsville ISD school board meeting on Tuesday, stating that the district is breaking special education laws.
“They punish students who choose virtual education,” said Ida Abeldano, a staff member of the Texas State Teacher’s Association in Brownsville. “It’s a right they have.”
Chapter 504 is a law of the Ministry of Education that protects the educational rights of students with disabilities.
“That even during this pandemic, all students receive free and appropriate public education – FAPE – this includes all students who are virtual,” said Veronica Borrego, president of AOBE.
Section 504 was created in 1974 and requires all students with disabilities to have the same opportunity to participate in federally funded activities, even from a distance.
Borrego is also a special education teacher and said she has received phone calls from parents and teachers concerned about preparing for the STARR test.
“This ‘STARR camp’… it was like a module computer program; a lot of the kids weren’t even with a certified person, ”Borrego said.
Borrego reports that “STARR Camp” is sometimes monitored online on some campuses by paraprofessionals and not certified teachers.
“However, the students of the school [that are] face to face were given full instructions, ”Borrego said.
The TSTA said that on some campuses they have started cutting elective courses for students who will not take an in-person apprenticeship.
“They don’t allow them to participate in their elective classes, such as music, physical education, library, art,” Abeldano said.
Some schools practicing this are Stillman Middle School, Thomas W. Keller Elementary School, and Stell Middle School, according to Abeldano.
Abeldano added that Homer Hanna Early College High School will only allow students with a certain number of days in person to attend prom.
TSTA and AOBE said they did not receive a response from the district, but BISD sent KVEO the following statement. The statement did not address the specific concerns of the teachers’ association or the TSTA.
The Brownsville Independent School District supports learning for all students, whether it’s face-to-face or virtual learning. Extended day services at Brownsville ISD were provided to all students – at all levels.
The district ensures that all students have the accommodations and modifications necessary for students with such needs. Brownsville ISD, like every district in the state, complies with state and federal mandates and requirements to meet the unique needs of all of our students.
Brownsville ISD wishes our students the best in state assessments and year-end in strength. We thank our staff, parents and our community for their support and cooperation during these difficult times.