Fed probe finds TEA vi­o­lated spe­cial ed rules

Re­port says agency prompted dis­tricts to de­lay or deny ser­vices; Ab­bott wants ac­tion plan in 7 days

Houston Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Ale­jan­dra Matos and An­drea Zelin­ski

AUSTIN — Ni­cole Rech­ner knew this to be true: Texas ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials had de­nied or de­layed spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices to stu­dents across the state for more than a decade.

After all, her 13-yearold son, Demar­cus Fuller, was one of those stu­dents.

But Thursday, Rech­ner wept when she learned a U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion had de­ter­mined that Texas Ed­u­ca­tion Agency of­fi­cials il­le­gally prompted school dis­tricts across Texas to de­lay or deny such ser­vices to stu­dents by set­ting an ar­bi­trary cap on them.

“I can say there are some se­ri­ous flaws in the sys­tem be­cause when I need help, I can’t find it,” said Rech­ner, of Hous­ton.

›› Texas ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials kept tens of thou­sands of chil­dren out of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion. Read our se­ries at Hous­tonChron­i­cle.com/De­nied

Marie D. De Jesús pho­tos / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle file

Ni­cole Rech­ner has strug­gled to get her son Demar­cus Fuller the help he needs at school.

Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials held “lis­ten­ing ses­sions” in De­cem­ber 2016, where Chris Crow­ley and oth­ers talked about is­sues at their schools.

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