Success Story: Getting an Education

Cynthia’s daughter was having trouble at school. The young girl had cerebral palsy, a condition that meant that she needed special attention from school officials, but Cynthia was having problems with the school’s special education department. They weren’t supervising her daughter properly and the child was often coming home with feces on her or injured from falls.

One day, Cynthia’s daughter told her a terrible story. After she was unable to copy the notes on the board, her teacher walked over to her, called her a “stubborn little girl,” and hit her on the head. Cynthia was upset and immediately called the school principal who told her that a staff meeting would be held and he would follow up later. He never called. So Cynthia filed charges against the teacher with the local police department. Meanwhile, Cynthia’s daughter refused to return to school because she was afraid. Convinced that her child’s rights were being violated, Cynthia turned to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) for help.

TRLA arranged for a meeting between the family and the school. The school agreed to have a behavioral specialist visit the child’s classroom regularly to make sure that she continues to get the help she needs. The child was also given a journal to keep track of any issues she might be having in the classroom. School administrators agreed to review the journal every week and follow up with Cynthia as appropriate. Several months later, Cynthia told TRLA that she was happy with the attention being given to her daughter and that the child was making significant strides in her school work.


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