Cy-Fair ISD parent says paraprofessional yelled and assaulted his son who has autism

HOUSTON – A Cypress-Fairbanks ISD parent says a paraprofessional yelled and assaulted his son who has autism. He says the incident left bruises on his son, David’s arm.

“It’s heartbreaking, because David loves most of the people in that school, and he loves going to school,” father Alex Garza said. “He loves the routine. I feel like that’s broken now because he’s scared to go back to the school to face the person that, you know, the teacher.”

The incident happened April 18 at Lowery Elementary School.

Garza wants justice for his son. Despite meeting with school leaders two different times and sending multiple emails, Alex says the school concluded their investigation and the aide remained on campus.

Alex doesn’t want the employee in the same class with his son.

Alex showed KPRC 2′s Re’Chelle Turner pictures of David, a third-grade student at Cy Fair ISD’s Lowery Elementary School.

“David is a high-functioning autistic child on the ASD, Autism spectrum disorder. He’s a very happy child and he loves people. He’s very energetic,’ he said.

Alex says his son’s mental well-being has changed since April 18.

“So, I went into the car right of line to pick him up and as we’re waiting, or once we’re done waiting, he’s coming to the vehicle, he’s just distraught. And when I ask him what’s wrong, it kind of triggers that knot in your throat, and he just starts breaking down crying. And as I’m dealing with that, another teacher comes over and says, ‘David got yelled at, but don’t worry, I’ll call you.’ And kind of motions me out of the line,” he said.

Alex says he confronted the principal and filed a police report. The next day, he viewed footage of the incident.

“It escalated from verbal abuse or verbal assault to physical assault. The teacher grabbed David by his arm twice and yanked him into a corner and then began to berate him, you know, like a drill sergeant would get him. He had bruises on his arm from when she pulled him,” Garza said.

According to the Texas Education Agency, the paraprofessional involved in the incident has a teaching certificate that expired six days before the alleged assault. Garza says the aide has not apologized.

“You know, at the end of the day, I want an action plan in place to ensure this doesn’t just happen, not just to my kid, but to any kids. We need to have some type of system in place that ensures that a teacher or a paraprofessional is not in place if they don’t have active certs. Why are they not looking at, ‘hey, your cert’s going to expire at the end of this month, let’s get it redone.’ You know, why are there not these things in place?” he said.

Last week, we told you about Cy-Fair facing a $38 million dollar budget deficit. One of the suggestions includes cutting some of the paraprofessional jobs. Alex says they moved to the Copperfield area so their son could learn from the best.

Alex and his family are looking for legal representation.

Around 5:40 p.m., the district released a statement that says:

A paraprofessional/aide (not a teacher) at Lowery Elementary School was placed on leave pending a complete investigation by campus administration for allegations of student abuse regarding an incident that occurred on April 18, 2024 (not February). The campus has completed its investigation. The allegation of abuse was not substantiated, and the employee has returned to campus.

CPS says they are investigating the incident.

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