Killeen Independent School District and a KISD family are now awaiting a June 22 ruling related to a special education, due process hearing that concluded Monday.
Natalie McGrew, a KISD parent, filed a request with the Texas Education Agency to hold the hearing after her son’s independent education plan (IEP) was denied by KISD.
McGrew’s lawyer, Sonja Kerr from Austin-based Cuddy Law Firm, on Wednesday said the hearing was requested in September, and neither KISD nor the McGrews were able to agree during mediation on a formal education plan for the McGrews’ son prior to the due process hearing’s commencement.
“When multiple hearings happen in the same department that usually means the district has an issue on its hands,” Kerr said.
According to TEA records, 21 due process hearings have been requested since the start of the 2015-16 school year. Since that time, none of the hearing officers have ruled to approve the complainant’s request.
Eleven of the cases were dismissed prior to a formal hearing and cannot be re-filed by the same complainant. Seven of the cases were dismissed before a formal hearing but can be re-filed at another time. Two of the hearings are still pending and one hearing was denied after consideration by a hearing officer.
The McGrew family moved from Amherst, Mass., to Fort Hood in August 2015 after Lt. Col. Tim McGrew was reassigned. At the time, the McGrews’ 4-year-old son had been diagnosed with autism and speech apraxia.
According to McGrew, her son came to KISD with an already approved IEP but was then denied the same services by KISD.
Kerr also said that school district must make special education students a priority as they regularly require assistance compared to general students.
“These kids really need specific educational planning,” Kerr said Wednesday.
According to Natalie McGrew, KISD denied the IEP and put very little support in its place. The district also did not allow their son to receive one-on-one full day support. The change in instruction led to their son having “full autistic meltdowns” most days when their son would come home from school, according to the letter.
“We worked patiently with KISD and even transferred our son to a different school within the district thinking that would help. In the second school, our son made no further progress and the district still refused to provide any further services to help our son,” Natalie McGrew said last week.
The district has had a number of special education related issues in the past.
In January 2015, the Texas Education Agency began a district-wide investigation for a number of reasons, including needed adjustments to its policies on special education, its referral process to give students the services they need, and lack of consistent student tracking. In January 2017, the district reached compliance by TEA standards, according to TEA.