Wednesday, August 31, 2016


"So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.
And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won't get them.
Whether treated or not, they do go to school. And, the problems these children face can play a big role in the major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out."
My long term readers know this has been my number one issue with BISD for years.  It goes back to successful complaints against Art Rendon which eventually lead to his dismissal.  For the Trustees and Despesperanza Zendejas this is a non-issue which is costing the district children, making instruction in the classroom very difficult for teachers, and costing society and these children as they drop out of high school because they just cannot get the help they need.
Years ago I called on BISD, UTB, and Valley Baptist to work to recruit a true pediatric psychiatrist to Brownsville.  Between the three institutions there would have been more than enough work.  All three institutions ignored my written suggestion supported by evidence of need.  A family psychiatrist is not the same as a pediatric psychiatrist.
Many ADHD, ADD, or children with classroom anxiety are better served in a classroom of 10 or fewer.  A classroom of 30 students for any student with any of these problems is a near guaranteed failure for the child.  A student for whom I fought BISD nearly every year since middle school just graduated, after the TEA made it clear BISD was going to accommodate this child or face the consequences.  Even after we proved we were able to turn this child around in a classroom of 10 of fewer, the teachers would go around the parents telling the child she really needed to be in a regular classroom.  She told the parents about the pressure being put on her and that nonsense stopped.
When you have a child who wants to learn but cannot because of ADHD, ADD, or classroom anxiety, they tend to act out in the classroom, and then it becomes a disciplinary problem. It also makes it harder for the teacher to teach thereby denying an education to the children who do not need extra help.  This only compounds the problem and further pushes the child away from learning.  BISD's policy is to punish these children instead of trying to understand them.
Because of lawsuits around the country, and threats of lawsuits in Texas, our truancy laws were changed to force BISD to address the causes of truancy before acting on the child.  Studies had shown mental illness and disability was a major source of truancy.
Dr. Sylvia Atkinson was taking the lead on solving all of these problems when Joe Rodriguez working with other trustees forced Desesperanza Zendejas to fire Dr. Atkinson because according to Minerva Peña Dr. Atkinson had started to file complaints against administrators and in particular one principal who had falsified reports to help cover-up these problems.
BISD finally had someone fighting for these children and Desesperanza fired her in exchange for Joe Rodriguez and other Board Members support for the job. This is why every incumbent must be replaced.  This is why Desesperanza Zendejas is going around to the business community telling people Dr. Atkinson will not work well with her.  Maybe because Dr. Atkinson will put special needs children ahead of the bad board deals which benefit everyone but the children in need.
If Rigo Bocanegra really cared about the children he and his supporters would be backing Dr. Atkinson.  She has proven herself when it comes to special needs children. So why does Rigo Bocanegra oppose the one educated person who has tried to make a difference for special needs children?  He gave us wheel chair steeling Carlos Elizondo who participated in getting rid of Dr. Atkinson, and now asks us to vote for him instead of the one person who has actually has proven special needs children need extra attention at BISD.

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