Special needs student injured, after aunt’s request for cameras denied

A Bastrop ISD aunt says her special needs niece was injured in class, months after her request for cameras in the classroom was denied
A Bastrop ISD aunt says her special needs niece was injured in class, months after her request for cameras in the classroom was denied.

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) —  A law passed to help protect special needs students in the classroom has some holes in it. A woman in Bastrop ISD made a request for the district to put cameras in her niece’s classroom, but the district said it didn’t meet state qualifications.

The aunt asked KXAN to keep her identity anonymous. “I was shocked, I was frustrated, and I was angered. This is a child who has special needs. She has rights, she’s entitled to protection.”

The woman says she wanted a camera in her niece’s Life Skills classroom, saying there had been issues with the teacher in the past.

A Bastrop ISD aunt says her special needs niece was injured in class, months after her request for cameras in the classroom was denied
A Bastrop ISD aunt says her special needs niece was injured in class, months after her request for cameras in the classroom was denied.

“I wasn’t asking for cameras in every single classroom, I was asking for cameras in one specific classroom. And she’s a special needs student, I don’t see why they can’t meet that.”

The district says the classroom didn’t meet the definition of a “self-contained classroom,” which means special education services are provided to at least 50 percent of the students, for at least 50 percent of the school day.

The woman says cameras could have played an important part revealing how her niece was injured in the classroom on Wednesday. “The word was the teacher was organizing the bookcase, my niece started getting aggravated or upset and started to act as though she was going to destroy things, and the teacher may have grabbed my niece.”

But her niece told her she was pushed into the bookcase, injuring her face and neck.

KXAN reached out to the district and received this statement:

      Bastrop ISD is aware of the situation and is working with campus administrators. Our investigation indicates that the teacher acted appropriately in accordance with training and in the interest of student safety. Due to concerns for student privacy, we are not at liberty to disclose additional details. Campus and district officials have been in communication with the family and have a meeting set for next week. Offers were extended to meet today or tomorrow but were declined by the family.
    A request for the placement of audio and video surveillance has been reviewed, and at this time, has been denied because the setting does not meet the definition of “self-contained classroom” included in TAC 103.1301. The family was informed of that decision as well as how to file an appeal should they disagree.
If cameras are granted, districts must fund the cost of them and keep them maintained.
As for the family, the woman says at this time she does not feel comfortable sending her niece back to school, and is looking for alternative options.

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