Mother Pursuing A Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against Aldine Independent School District and the State of Texas
HOUSTON-Calling the Aldine Independent School District (AISD) and the State of Texas treatment of homeless children a travesty, the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) joined with other civil rights groups and attorneys in pursuing a class action lawsuit challenging AISD & state’s failure to provide homeless children with equal access to public education. The lawsuit – seeking to be filed on behalf of three homeless children – charges state officials with ignoring their legal obligations to provide homeless children with equal access to a free and appropriate public education in violation of the McKinney-Vento Act (“the Act”). The lawsuit also charges AISD and state officials with violating constitutional requirements to provide equal access to public education without regard to the status of homelessness.
“The State’s complete disregard of its duty to assist this extremely vulnerable population is indefensible,” ACLU Legal Director & Lawyers for Equal Justice (“LEJ”). The appropriate action is to file a lawsuit in federal district court seeking a court order requiring the ALDINE School District and the STATE OF TEXAS to fulfill its legal obligations and protect the educational rights of homeless students and their parents. The mother of three children seek to represent all homeless students and their parents in Aldine ISD.
“Homeless parents and children face innumerable barriers when they try to access education in the ALDINE ISD public school system.”
Melody George, one of many parents who are displaced families/ a homeless parent who puts education first and strive for excellence with the odds of survival very delicate when it comes to being the minority – poor black woman/mother who is oppressed by the “deaf ear syndrome” on behalf of the AISD Officials.
After making every attempt to utilize the grant funded accommodations so that the children will be in attendance, school officials still failed to provide transportation. “Every child deserves an education. He shouldn’t be punished just because he’s homeless. It’s not his fault.”
School officials refused to allow George’s children transportation because they were unable to provide a permanent address and out of the school district area. As a result, the children are faced with missing school or changing schools.
Melody George had to miss work for 2 weeks. “This is a step backwards not forwards, I’m already homeless do you want me to be jobless?” George reported several phone conversations between herself and the AISD & HISD Homeless Liaison(s) for the transportation request two weeks before the start of school 2015-2016 year.
Ms. Rosado the Homeless Liaison for Houston ISD had provided transportation through ALC as guaranteed with Mr. Efrain Yureba mutual approval. On September 1, 2015, All three children were picked up from the appropriate location that morning and taken to all three schools with expectations of return. Unbeknownst to the parent a shocking 45 minutes before having to pick up the first child, transportation was cancelled by Bertha Valle AISD East Transportation Overseer. This act is an act of negligence and a liability on AISD.
I work in an environment where we can not have our phone available. Who knows what would have happened had I not been able to receive the call at the time while at work”, replied George. NO ONE has yet to take responsibility and the blame has been “the other ones fault”!!! THIS IS UNCCEPTABLE!!! After calling several departments, directors, superintendents “the higher ups” repeatedly begging with school officials for help – only to be ignored. Tragically, these examples are typical of the problems reported by homeless parents and children throughout the state.
The McKinney-Vento Act was enacted in 1987 to break down these barriers and ensure that children in homeless situations can enroll in, attend and succeed in school and preschool programs. Although the state receives hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in federal grant money specifically earmarked to implement the Act and assist homeless families. Melody George is seeking action for a lawsuit with charges against ALDINE ISD and that the state has failed completely to uphold its duties under the Act and to provide homeless children with equal access to a free and appropriate public education.
“It is absolutely shocking that the state has failed to assist these children despite having been on formal notice of its noncompliance since 2014,” said George.
Reflections from a same case scenario lawsuit- William Durham, LEJ attorney, said, “For homeless children and their parents, education is the way out of a deplorable situation – yet the state has erected barriers for them at every turn in violation of federal law and the Constitution. By bringing this lawsuit, we are fighting for homeless children to get the education they need and deserve.”
For more information regarding this article contact: