WFISD responds to complaints made by parents of special needs students

Updated: Oct. 17, 2018 at 5:32 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls ISD is answering complaints by parents of special needs students brought up at this week’s school board meeting.

Inclusion, integration, and opportunity is what some parents said is not being offered to their kids at WFISD but officials with the school district said on Wednesday that's not quite true.

Carissa Davis was one out of three parents who attended the school board meeting Monday night to express concern over the needs of students like her daughter, Ciara Davis.

Ciara was born with a rare gene mutation that causes her to have three different types of seizures. Their biggest concern is access to the new Career Education Center.

“Our special needs kids are not allowed to take those classes,” said Davis.

WFISD’s associate superintendent, Peter Griffiths said that’s not the case.

“The comment of we don’t allow students with special needs to go to the CEC is completely false,” said Griffiths. “We have over 160 students with special needs that go to the CEC but again there’s different ranges of special needs.”

A few parents are also concerned students in the special education program learning life skills are segregated at Carrigan. Giriffith’s explained to us the reason behind that.

"I don't think when the CEC was even planned out, that there was any kind of thought of having anyone housed there," said Griffiths. "Because actually there are no all day programs at the Career Education Center."

"We need to put them in classes with other mainstream children and that being said mainstream children need to be in classes with them as well," said Davis. "This is where they learn compassion and patience and acceptance."

Another thing they are concerned about is the shortage in Special Education teachers at WFISD.

“We're going into ten weeks of school now and unfortunately Rider still does not have a special education teacher for her classroom,” said Davis. “We have been going with a substitute and he has been doing an amazing job with what he has been handed but we're unhappy with the curriculum.”

Griffiths said the problem is finding a teacher who is actually qualified for the role.

“The issue is finding qualified personnel. We have allocations of staff members but we're short all over the district,” said Griffiths. “We can say we want to hire people but we have to find the right people to be hired.”

With the increase in students with special needs at WFISD, Griffiths said the school district was forced to add an additional four teachers and open positions are still available.

If you’re interested in applying, you’re asked to contact the school districts' human resources department. WFISD Administrators, parents, and representatives of the ARC of Wichita County are set to meet on Monday to discuss their concerns.

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