Allen ISD parent says school district isn't accommodating son's special needs
ALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Allen ISD confirmed Thursday that it is being investigated by federal regulators after a civil rights complaint was filed against the district last year.
The investigation into the school district involves a student with special needs, whose mom says they are not being met.
"Nicolas just turned five and he was born with a condition called TAR syndrome," said his mom, Christina Cabral. "For Nicolas.. he's actually missing all of his arm bones and his knee joints as well."
Cabral says for Nicolas to walk, "He needs a lot of support as he gets around because he's unsteady."
"When he does fall, his risk of brain hemorrhaging and internal bleeding is really high because with his low platelets his blood doesn't clot," she said.
Cabral says since this constantly puts her son at risk, when she enrolled him in Allen ISD, she made sure to detail all his special needs.
Then when she arrived at his school for his first day, "They brought out the stroller and then they were going to require him to be in the stroller and then have a restraint on him, that gait belt, it's a restraint."
Cabral says she explained this could cause physical harm.
"It was talking to a brick wall," she said. "Everything that we said fell on deaf ears."
So, she enlisted the help Karen Mayer Cunningham - a nationally recognized special education advocate - who filed a complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights stating Nicolas' legal rights are not being met for multiple reasons including:
- Using a harness to improperly restrain him
- Offering a plastic toilet on the floor for his bathroom needs
- Failing to maintain accessible entrances, classrooms, and a playground
"The Americans With Disabilities Act has been in place for 33 years and the building is not accessible, the room is not accessible, none of the playgrounds in the district are accessible.. and they don't seem to have a problem with that," Cunningham said.
In a statement to CBS 11, the district says:
"Allen ISD strongly believes that the claims in this complaint are without merit, and all procedures were followed in accordance with the law."
They intend to fully cooperate with the investigation.
"I'm not going away," Cunningham said. "He's not going away."
"Every student is entitled to that so we want this change not only for him, but we want it for every other student here that has needs," Cabral said.
On Friday, Cunningham is hosting a press conference about this at the Allen ISD administration building at 2 p.m.
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