Federal investigation finds Texas violated laws in place that serve special needs students

Federal investigation finds Texas violated laws in place that serve special needs students

The U.S. Department of Education says Texas has has violated laws that ensure a public education to all students with disabilities.

KFDM/Fox 4's Jessica Crawford reports that after a 15-month federal investigation, the Texas Education Agency's tactics were found to keep many special needs students from getting the help they deserve.

The federal government says the Texas Education Agency violated laws by setting an enrollment target for special education.

Until last year (2017), the Texas Education Agency capped the amount of students who could receive services at 8.5 percent of the district’s population.

“Nobody should have to play a number game,” said Delicia Yawn, who has two autistic boys. “They should be able to give the child the assistance they need so that they can do better.”

Yawn has a 10-year-old and a 3-year-old boy, and they both go to Shorkey Center for help.

Yawn says she hopes the Department of Education's statement will lead to more students getting the help they need.

If you go to school and you fit in a bubble then everything's great. You have all of these

opportunities for you,” Yawn said. “But I feel like if you go to school and you struggle, the same advantages are not there.”

Port Arthur Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie says the districts tries to serve as many special needs students who need help.

"We have parents that are really concerned you know parents come to us especially when they

have a special needs child, and they want us to do everything we can to help that child,” Dr. Porterie said.

For the 2016-2017 school year, a little more than 7 percent of Beaumont and Port Arthur students received special education.

More than 10 percent of students at West Orange Cove ISD received special education, according to the Texas Tribune.

Across the country, about 13 percent or more of students are identified as needing special education.

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