Parents share support for T.H. Rogers special needs program and HISD meeting

Concerned and upset parents of students in the Preparing Students for Independence program at T.H. Rogers spoke at Houston Independent School District’s monthly board meeting.

Their concerns and frustrations are over the possibility the district would send students with severe multiple impairments to schools within their neighborhoods and the PSI program at T-H Rogers would be no more.

Gretchen Frauenberger is a parent of a student within the program. 

“Very upset, distraught, stressed out.  It is devastating for our family, all the families.”

Julie Beeson is also a parent of a child within the program. 

“PSI stands for Preparing Students for Independence, but it is so comically marginalizing because as you can see our kids will never independently. We have made peace with that. Our kids have functional goals, not academic goals. Their needs have been served at TH Rogers for 30 years, there’s no reason to do this.”

Dozens of parents addressed the school board and HISD Superintendent Millard House II.

Ruthie Green was another parent who took to the podium. Her 20-year-old son Joshua has been attending TH Rogers’ PSI program for 17 years. 

“He has seizures on a regular basis, where he stops breathing.  I know that when I drop him off at school and when he has a seizure, there’s an RN there ready to administer the RX that will help him. That’s what it means to me. Safety and community.”

Close to 40 families were notified last month, the PSI program at TH Rogers would be no more and students would have to be transferred to their home campus.

Kelly Millner explained, “the school district wants us to accept this LRE, least restrictive environment, Mckleron will not survive in LRE in a regular middle school. Can you imagine children like this being forced into a regular high school?”

Jose Sanchez is a father of a student at the school who is non-verbal. 

His voice trembled, but he got his message across. 

“Sorry, give me a second.  My son’s name is Superman, he is a student at TH Rogers, and he is a PSI student.  He is a miracle child … I say viva. I say viva to PSI.”

Superintendent House acknowledged parents at the meeting. 

“I heard the passion in their voice, the pain in their voice.  We want to make sure this is right, so we are taking a complete pause and we are going to be engaging with the community at our PSI program and ensure anything that happens moving forward that you all are engaged in the process.”

Besson said she doesn’t believe it. 

“Unfortunately, it is lies upon lies, upon lies.  I believe this is about checking a box for HISD.”

The district said in a letter sent to parents, additional communication will come at the end of Jan. 2023.

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