5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, Feb. 25

Special needs student beaten in school

Here are things to know for Friday, Feb. 25:

1. Biden hits Russia with sanctions, shifts troops to Germany

President Joe Biden hit back Thursday against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unleashing robust new sanctions, ordering the deployment of thousands of additional troops to NATO ally Germany and declaring that America would stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

He also acknowledged that the invasion — and efforts to thwart Putin — will have a cost for Americans. But he sought to reassure the public that the economic pain that may come with rising energy prices will be short-lived in the U.S.

As for the Russian president, Biden said: “He’s going to test the resolve of the West to see if we stay together. And we will.”

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2. Husband finds wife dead with multiple stab wounds inside N. Harris County home, HCSO says

A husband returned from work to find his 64-year-old wife had been stabbed to death multiple times inside a Harris County home Wednesday evening, deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies responded to the 13100 block of Vickery Street near Lauder Road in the East Aldine area shortly before 6 p.m.

The husband entered his home and found his wife, Delia Arriaga, “bloody and unresponsive” with multiple stab wounds on the floor, deputies said.

Authorities with the Harris County Emergency Corps arrived at the home to attempt CPR on Arriaga until she was pronounced dead.

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3. State report shows multiple investigations prior to abandoned 8-year-old’s death

A 12-page child fatality report shows Child Protective Services was involved, at multiple points, in the life of a family that included an 8-year-old boy whose corpse was found among his living siblings back in October 2021.

Despite multiple investigations, the state’s report did not reveal concerns about long-term abuse. Child advocates say that points to a deeper problem.

“When you see that many instances and reports, there’s got to be something there,” said president and CEO of Children at Risk Robert Sanborn.

Investigators believe little Kendrick Lee’s siblings were forced to live with his corpse for nearly a year. Kendrick’s mother is accused of abandoning her children in the apartment and not reporting her son’s death.

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4. Aldine ISD: Teacher aides who watched as special needs student attacked ‘no longer employed’ with district

The teacher aides who allegedly stood idly by while witnessing a student with autism being attacked by a fellow student at Jones Middle School are no longer employed at the school, according to Aldine ISD officials.

Veda Cavitt, the grandmother of the victim, called for the removal of three aides who watched as her grandson, Sekai, was beaten for several seconds before anyone intervened.

Eleven-year-old Sekai has autism, is non-verbal and has an intellectual disability.

The alleged beating was caught on camera. The district confirmed it happened on Jan. 25 as students were leaving P.E.

The video shows a boy in a blue shirt getting pushed to the ground, and then a person in a gray shirt taking swings at him. Seconds later, the boy in the blue appears to be crawling before he starts getting kicked.

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5. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo lowers threat level from red to orange

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced on Thursday that she is lowering the county’s COVID-19 threat level from Red (Level 1) to Orange (Level 2). Hidalgo cites lower hospitalization rates and COVID-19 cases dropping at a safer level, according to the news release.

In light of the lowered threat level, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also announced Thursday that he has dropped the face covering requirement for city of Houston employees (with few exceptions) and visitors to city buildings.

The city’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Persse, has agreed with the decision.

City officials, however, still urge residents who are unvaccinated to get their vaccine as soon as possible.

According to Harris County Public Health, Level 2 - Orange signifies a “significant and uncontrolled” level of COVID-19 in the county. Unvaccinated residents should continue to wear masks, physically distance, and avoid large gatherings, while vaccinated residents should continue to wear a mask indoors and during activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

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