Disabled Central Texas student’s TEA complaint could lead to his arrest

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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) A special education student in the Copperas Cove Independent School District who filed a complaint against the district with the Texas Education Agency may now be the subject of a criminal investigation by the district attorney.

Austin attorney Elizabeth Angelone said late Thursday her client, a 13-year-old student at Copperas Cove Junior High School, filed the original complaint with TEA on Dec. 4, claiming “CCISD failed to identify the student as a student eligible for special education for years, despite the student having a diagnosis of autism and language disorder; bi-polar disorder; a long-standing history of academic and behavioral failure; and parents repeated requests for help.”

Angelone said in a statement to KWTX that the boy’s parents told her Coryell County District Attorney Dustin Boyd decided Thursday to proceed “with two felony charges of assault on a public servant” naming two CCISD employees as victims.

Each count carries punishment of as much as 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

The 13-year-old, however, still is a juvenile and not subject to the penal code, rather the juvenile code.

Boyd could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

“It is obscene that this child is being charged essentially for trying to break free from a dangerous and unnecessary two-person, prone restraint that broke his scapula and could have killed him,” Angelone said.

In fact, Angelone noted, a similar prone restraint applied by only one person in a Killeen school back in 2006 resulted in the death of KISD student Cedrick Napoleon.

The TEA complaint points out the child has been psychiatrically hospitalized at least four times since his seventh grade year and has a long-standing and well-documented history and has served several detentions, suspensions and dangerous restraints.

The specific incident upon which the complaint was filed happened Oct. 30, when during a lunch period the student evidently took food off another student’s plate in the lunch room.

While being questioned about the incident in the school office, the student became agitated and should have been taken to a quiet place for a prescribed “cool down” period, but instead, a school employee blocked the student’s egress and held him down on the floor.

Soon another employee joined and the two held the student on the floor in a prone position, which, eventually, resulted in the boy’s scapula fracture.

During the altercation the adults say they were injured and now have reported the event to police.

Angelone provided information to KWTX with permission from the child’s parents, but she did not, at their request, release their identities.

TEA has not issued a decision in the case.