The Killeen Independent School District began a weeklong special education due process hearing at the student services office on Tuesday, regarding a military family whose individual education plan, or IEP, was denied.
Natalie McGrew is a KISD mother whose family moved from Amherst, Mass., to Fort Hood in August 2015 after her husband was reassigned. At the time, she and her husband, Lt. Col. Tim McGrew, had a 4-year-old son who had already 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.
“We came with our son’s individualized educational plan which, was still valid for speech therapy, occupational therapy, one-on-one full day support, American Behavioral Analysis therapy (special behavioral therapy for children with autism) and extended school year (summer school),” McGrew said in a letter to the Herald last week. “Our son’s IEP was so detailed and comprehensive that the administrators and therapist all agreed they had never seen one so well written before.”
According to 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,” McGrew said.
The McGrew family said they are being represented by Austin-based Cuddy Law Firm. The McGrews have agreed to go to mediation with KISD to try to work things out. The hearing, which was also held Wednesday, continues Thursday and Monday at the KISD Student Services office, 902 N. 10th St.
Nearly two years ago, the Killeen Independent School District’s special education program hit a low point when the district was investigated for noncompliance with statewide regulations regarding special education.
The report summary that evaluated the district in the 2014-15 school year said: “The TEA (Texas Education Agency) staff found that Killeen ISD does not have an effective process in place to meet federal and state requirements. While the district has a knowledgeable, capable staff, there is a lack of effective systemic process and procedures that prevent compliance for timely evaluation of students. The integrity of submitted data is lacking, and staff members responsible for reporting accurate data, as well as responding to complaints and due process hearings, are not complying with TEA requirements.”
However, the Texas Education Agency, which performed the investigation, sent a letter to KISD in January saying the district is now in full compliance.
KISD’s special education department has also had issues with camera monitor policy as well.
The measure allowing video cameras in special education classrooms, known as Texas Senate Bill 507, was signed into law in 2015 and went into effect in August. It allows cameras to be placed in special education classrooms if at least one parent requests it.
It applies only to students who attend a special education class for more than 50 percent of their academic day and have more than 50 percent of their curriculum taught in the same classroom by the same teacher.
Parents took issue when told that they would not be guaranteed to view the monitor footage unless the district determined a criminal act was committed.