Livingston ISD parents express concern over services offered to students with intellectual abilities after they say their 8-year-old son was mishandled

Here's what we know

LIVINGSTON – The family of an 8-year-old boy who is diagnosed with Autism expressed concern over services offered to students with intellectual challenges after they said a teacher mishandled their son during an emotional outburst.

Jason Fowler said the video his son’s teacher sent him speaks to a long-standing problem with services Livingston ISD offers to students diagnosed with autism.

The video, recorded last week, apparently shows a teacher recording Mason as he ripped paper while crying in a classroom. Fowler said Mason does so to calm down, but his teacher didn’t seem to understand that.

“For me, mom, and family members, we see an upset child. We see our son that’s upset. We see our son trying to calm down,” Fowler said, referring to the video.

Mason is enrolled in third grade at Creekside Elementary School in Livingston ISD.

Despite being diagnosed with autism, Mason’s family said he’s not been placed in a classroom for students with special needs. Instead, Fowler said his son is in the general population, adding the teacher who sent him the video of Mason’s episode works with students with behavioral concerns. That’s why Fowler said school administrators placed Mason with the teacher in question, despite his documented developmental challenges.

“We have asked and they were supposed to do an evaluation for themselves even after all of the doctors and everything, but that still has not been done. This was probably late August, early September of last year (when) this was supposed to take place,” Fowler said.

Fowler said the school administration’s answer to him was to enroll his son elsewhere.

For Mason, the video confirms his challenges have gone misunderstood by administrators.

“She upsets me,” he said, referring to the teacher and the situation.

That’s why his father said he shared the video. His hope is for Livingston ISD and other school districts to better prepare themselves for the adversity children with intellectual challenges often face.

“Autism is a different thing, and it’s a lot of reading. A lot of educating yourself and getting to know your child and becoming that because we all want what’s best for our kids,” Fowler said.

A representative for Livingston ISD offered no comment on the allegations.


About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.