‘We’re not going to back down’: Parents of special needs students at HISD school plan to fight district over decision to remove their children

HOUSTON – Several parents at the T.H. Rogers School are frustrated after learning the school will no longer accept special needs students.

Jose Sanchez said his son Alex, who is special needs and battles cerebral palsy and epilepsy, has received exceptional care and school at the T.H. Rogers School since 2015. The school mixes gifted and talented students with special needs students to help both parties learn empathy and understanding in a real-world environment.

But now, Jose’s family and about 35 other parents of special needs students at the school have been told their children will no longer be able to attend come next year.

“If they want a battle, we’re here and we’re not going to back down. We’re not backing down for anything,” Jose said while making a fist in his hand.

Jose and the other parents say they plan to fight HISD’s decision.

”We’re battle tested. We’ve been through these battles with our kids, fighting for doctor care, for prescriptions, for so many things. So, they (HISD) don’t realize that even though we are worn out, we may be tired, we’re like a heavy-weight champion, we’re still swinging away and ready to fight,” Jose said.

And Jose, who is not alone, said many of the gifted and talented kids at Rogers, past and present, also want HISD to reverse its decision.

“We at T. H. Rogers believe the PSI students are so important to our community that we are willing to do whatever is needed, whatever HISD requires to continue to serve them and be with them,” one student said. “I can surely say the decision to remove the PSI program will destroy the sense of community that has been fostered at Rogers, promoting inclusivity and fighting discrimination,” another student said.

Eighth-grader Matt Hutchinson put together a special video featuring fellow and former students at Rogers who talked about how much they love and have learned from their PSI friends.

”The PSI program is such a core part of what Rogers is. They (the PSI students) are some of the kindest, most patient and most loving people I know. By displacing these children from the program, you are just taking away a safe space for them and a secure home,” said another student.

KPRC2 reached out to HISD for comment and reaction to this story, but HISD said they could not meet our deadline for publication.

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