Lubbock State School Among Facilities with Most Abuse-Related Firings - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/8/08

Lubbock State School Among Facilities with Most Abuse-Related Firings

About one-fourth of more than 800 employees suspended or fired for mistreatment at 13 state facilities for the mentally and developmentally disabled - worked at two schools.

The Associated Press reports both schools had been targeted by federal investigators.

The Lubbock and Denton schools have been under investigation by the civil rights department at the U.S. Department of Justice.

An AP analysis of state records finds at least 208 employees at those facilities have been fired or suspended since fiscal year 2004 for mistreating patients.

Government records also show that nearly 58 percent of the 822 firings or suspensions since fiscal 2004 for abuse, neglect or exploitation of residents came from four of the 13 state schools:

  • Lubbock
  • Denton
  • San Angelo
  • Mexia

The Associated Press obtained the figures through an open records request made to the Department of Aging and Disability Services, which oversees the state schools.

The department has so far declined to release figures from thestate schools in Denton and Lubbock, claiming an exemption to disclosure laws because the figures are "pertaining to pending or anticipated litigation."

AP was unable to determine the number of suspended or fired employees at Denton and Lubbock individually. It was only possible to come up with a combined number for the two schools.

Critics of state schools have said the number of disciplined employees is proof that the facilities are ineffective and dangerous and should be closed in favor of smaller, community-based settings.

Supporters of state schools, including families with loved ones at the facilities, say they offer the best available care for the state's most vulnerable residents.

Governor Rick Perry and other state officials have defended the suspensions and firings as proof of a zero tolerance policy for abuse by the Department of Aging and Disability Services.

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