Several parents of former and current Clear Creek Independent School District students are accusing officials of covering up abuse and misdeeds in its special education programs.
“We moved here because we heard how great the district was,” said Jane Kline, the parent of a former student in the district. “My son spent one year at CCISD with behavioral and emotional issues and came out worse than he went in.”
District officials, meanwhile, said they couldn’t respond to individual complaints as it dealt with student records, but said they hoped to work with parents.
“We don’t want to minimize their concerns,” said Elaina Polsen, spokeswoman for the district. “We want to work with them; we are aware of their concerns. The superintendent has met with them, and we want to continue to communicate and work collaboratively to address their concerns as best we can.”
School districts across the state of Texas have come under increased scrutiny over their handling of special education programs in recent months after a 15-month federal probe found that the Texas Education Agency had effectively instituted an 8.5 percent cap on special education services.
“Clear Creek isn’t alone, but they are one of the districts you hear the most complaints about in this area, and they aren’t one of the largest districts,” said Dustin Rynders, a supervising attorney with Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy agency for people with disabilities.
Parents concerned about the treatment of special education students in the district have formed a group called Parents for CCISD Special Education Reform with the goal of fixing some of the issues, organizers said.
Leaders are specifically calling for an independent investigation of parent accusations and for the district to establish a parental advisory commission to collaborate with administrators, said Marta Brain, one of the group’s founders.
“Unfortunately, CCISD has long had the reputation of being antagonistic and litigious and combative with parents,” Rynders said. “The special education process is supposed to be collaborative. But too many families have contacted us for years where CCISD has shown no willingness to work collaboratively.”
Several parents have had their students placed in isolation against their will and have had issues dealing with issues administratively, Brain said.