By Robert Stanton
Two Deer Park school district teachers have submitted their resignations amid allegations of mistreating a special education student and failing to report the incident the officials, district leaders said.
Parent Sheri Graham said she was told that one teacher taunted and mocked her 13-year-old son, spraying his face with a water bottle and forcing him to fold towels repeatedly. The Fairmont Junior High School teacher also ridiculed the boy for not being able to tie his shoes, Graham said, keeping him in timeout until he could.
The other teacher did not report the incident to officials, Graham said.
School district officials on Tuesday declined to discuss specifics of the case, citing employee privacy. Neither teacher has been identified.
District officials stated in a news release that two sets of parents filed complaints about a staff member who used an unapproved technique that did not follow district policy or training.
The district removed the teachers from the classroom and reassigned them off-campus.
Both teachers have submitted letters of resignation.
The district reported the resignations, effective at the end of the school year, in a statement released on Monday.
Graham said that in December, three classroom aides told her the incident occurred on Dec. 5. She said she called on school district officials to fire both teachers immediately. She also said that officials interviewed two of the aides and she demanded the third be questioned.
"We had hoped that the school board would do the right thing and make the right moral decision and terminate the two teachers back in December," she said. "However, they (trustees) keep proving that they're not going to the right thing, now or forever."
Deer Park spokesman Matt Lucas said, "A thorough and complete investigation was conducted."
Graham said she has contacted the Texas Education Agency about the case, as well as the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Louis H. Geigerman, a special education advocate, questioned the district's investigation of the incidents.
"There's always a question of independence whenever an entity can interview themselves," said Geigerman, who represents the Grahams and two other parents whose son allegedly was mistreated by the special ed instructor.
"It was not a thorough investigation if the third whistle-blower (teacher's aide) is not interviewed," said Geigerman, of National ARD/IEP Advocates in Sugar Land.