Several Lubbock mothers are outraged after recent abuse allegations surfaced in a Frenship middle school special needs classroom. Now they're banning together to protect their children and get the laws changed.
Back in April, Child Protective Services investigated a special education teacher at Terra Vista Middle School after allegations of abuse were made by one of the aides. That aide has since been fired.
The accused teacher told KCBD she resigned because of issues with the aide who made the allegations. After several weeks of investigating, CPS found there was no evidence of abuse in the classrooms.
"If something happened, I'd never know," said Sherry Reed, mother of one of the special needs students. "I was horrified by the fact that we didn't know it."
Reed's 14-year-old daughter Kelsay has Angelman Syndrome and is completely non-verbal. Even though CPS found no abuse, Reed isn't satisfied with their investigation. Reed along several other parents with special needs children are appealing the CPS investigation to get it reopened.
That's not all they're pushing to get done.
"I'm her mom. She can't talk, she can't defend herself and so I'm going to do that," said Reed. "If it means driving to Washington D.C. to stand on the steps of Congress to get something passed so nobody ever has to experience this ever again… that's what I plan on doing."
Reed wants schools in Texas and across the country to install video cameras in the special needs classrooms.
"Why aren't we taking those measures to not only protect our kids but even the teacher? If there's alleged abuse you can always hit rewind and look," she said.
The problem preventing this is privacy laws. You can find surveillance cameras on busses or in school hallways – but you won't find them inside the classrooms. School districts like Frenship follow Texas Education Codes. The policies allow for cameras to be placed in common areas for safety reason. However, they do not allow cameras in areas where there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy," which a classroom is considered.
"Why is a classroom not a common area? People can walk in and out of a classroom all day long," said Luisa Gaytan. Her 15-year-old son is autistic and was part of the CPS investigation. "We're going to do everything we can possible to get cameras in those classrooms. We are on a mission," said Gaytan.
Sherry and the other mothers have written letters to Governor Rick Perry, local congressmen, and Michelle Obama to try and get the law changed. They even started an online petition to get support.
KCBD contacted the teacher accused of the abuse; she told us that if there had been cameras in the classroom the parents would see there was no abuse going on.
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