Texas parents were disappointed that many of their recommendations for fixing public schools failed to pass during the regular legislative session. Now, one group is hand-delivering a packet to the office of every state senator which contains tragic real-life stories of a child in a public school.
Texas Education 911—a movement of parents, educators, and pro-family organizations from across the state that advocated all session for reforming the state’s troubled public education system with solutions that put students and families first—is calling on the Texas Senate to fix problems in public schools with a special legislative session.
The public education advocates delivered ‘Champion-A-Child’ packets to all 31 state senators, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday. Each packet contains a real-life story of a child from or near their senate districts and the problems they have endured in the public school system.
On their website, Texas Education 911 shares each story of children who were harmed by school administrators and parents whose rights were violated by the school districts.
In one case, a child from the Houston area was grabbed by the neck and dragged on the floor by one of his teachers. The attack left marks on his neck three hours after the attack, and the district failed to provide his parents with photo evidence of the attack.
In another instance in Leander ISD, a 7th grade English teacher encouraged a young girl and her classmates to create two social media accounts; one of which she instructed them to make on an adult dating app. The district claimed it was a “make believe” assignment and refused to hand over lesson plans one week in advance for parents to approve the lessons or exempt their children from a particular lesson.
“The stories of these children are truly heart-breaking, and the parents of Texas cannot wait another two years for legislative remedies. Incidents like these will only increase unless a special legislative session focused on parent-identified problems and solutions is recognized to be an urgent priority,” said Melissa Beckett, a coordinator for Texas Education 911.
One legislative priority that the organization is advocating for is establishing an independent ombudsman who will initiate timely, independent investigations of complaints to protect parents’ rights and protect their children from rogue district employees.
During the regular session, State Sen. Angela Paxton (R–McKinney) and State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco) filed similar measures Senate Bill 2114 and House Bill 1924, which would have established an office of an independent ombudsman for the Texas Education Agency. The bills were referred to each chambers’ Education Committees but were never voted out.
“Because Texas education laws are only ‘suggestions’ to most school districts – and are consistently violated without consequences – a Parent Ombudsman is one vital, badly needed remedy,” Beckett said. “Parents need an Ombudsman to initiate a timely, independent investigation to protect their rights and protect their children. The current lengthy process of school districts functioning as judge and jury of their own actions is not working.”
Abbott has yet to announce a special session dedicated to school choice, although he said during a press conference held Monday to sign several parent empowerment bills that he will focus on the issue after lawmakers deal with property tax reform.