Pushing for change: Thousands sign petition for Katy ISD band member with Autism to receive fine arts credit

Bubba Salinas is a sophomore at Jordan High School in Katy ISD. He is also a member of the marching band, and his parents say he loves making art.

“He loves the band. He loves his peers, and he always is giving a big thumbs up,” says Bubba’s father Luis Salinas.

But according to his parents, Bubba, who is living with Autism, will not get fine arts credit for his band participation.

“It’s heartbreaking because that’s all we ever wanted for Bubba, is just to be included. We just want him to get credit, just like everyone else, that’s it. Just treat him fairly,” said Luis.

Bubba’s parents said they have had meetings with school officials, and with help from Bubba’s child advocate, they even filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.

“He’s being discriminated against and his rights are being violated simply because he is a student with autism,” said child advocate, Kassandra Levay.

“I would love to see change so families don’t have to go through this, spending all this money and fighting,” said Bubba’s mother, Colleen Salinas.

One student and fellow band member, Taryn Hozdic, started an online petition to help bring more awareness to Bubba’s situation.

“We got 500 signatures and I was jumping around my room. I was so excited for him and so excited we had that much support,” said fellow band member, Taryn Hozdic.

His other fellow bandmates are also pushing for change.

“He’s always there participating even if he doesn’t make music the same we do, he’s always doing his part,” said Catalina Parra.

“Even though he doesn’t do everything that we do, he’s there and he’s a very, very big part of our team,” said Sai Vithala.

KPRC 2 reached out to KATY ISD for an interview but school officials declined and sent out the following statement:

“All school districts must follow the Texas Education Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) mandated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It is the TEA, not individual school districts, that sets the parameters for standards that are to be taught and assessed by teachers, and met by Texas students.”

The district also referred KPRC 2 to the TEA website for more information. And also referred KPRC 2 to the TEA website.

KPRC 2 also reached out to the Texas Education Agency for more information on how and when accommodations are made for students with disabilities. So far, we have not received a response.

Bubba’s parents said even if his situation does not change, they feel like they have already won because Bubba is loved and included by his peers and community.

Currently, the petition for Bubba has 5,000 signatures. To read the petition and sign, visit the website.

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