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Family Says CFISD Students With Autism Expelled From School Program Due To Teacher Shortages

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) – A Cy Fair family says their special needs child has been heartbroken after being unable to attend a school program due to what they say is a growing teacher shortage. The family say the 8-year-old was unable to come because no member of staff was available to be with him during the performance.

Sean Burton is a bright, sweet little boy. He’s on the autism spectrum, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to lead a normal life like any other kid his age. His family cherishes every joyful moment he experiences, but they recently told ABC13 his lights were dimmed.

ALSO SEE: More than 20,000 students in HISD classes without a certified teacher, 13 investigations find

“I had a hard time telling him he couldn’t perform. I just told him it was cancelled,” said Sean’s grandmother, Dawn Tobias.

Tobias says all the second graders at Moore Elementary School prepared for a musical performance last week. But hours before the show started, the family received a call saying that Sean needed a staff member to stand next to him due to some difficulties in rehearsing.

“Unfortunately, there was no staff there for him that day. Therefore he could not participate in the program. Part of his IEP is to have someone available. I don’t care if it’s the principal stepping in. Do your job,” Tobias continued.

There is a shortage of teachers on everyone’s lips. According to a report by the University of Houston, from 2010 to 2019, the number of teaching staff nationwide declined by about 20%. In a Charles Butt Foundation survey of 919 Texas teachers last year, 68% said they were seriously considering quitting the profession in 2021, a 10 percentage point increase from the previous year.

COVID-19 concerns and feeling overworked and underpaid have been a reason many teachers have left, according to these recent studies and surveys.

Governor Greg Abbott recently created a task force to investigate the shortage, recommend policy changes to the state board of education, and consider more flexibility in the teacher certification process.

SEE ALSO: The Texas Education Agency plans to set up a task force under Governor Abbott to investigate teacher shortages

Regardless of these issues, Tobias, like many others, has a reasonable expectation every time she drops off her student.

“I think there’s a problem, you know? But that’s not our problem,” she said.

We reached out to Cy-Fair ISD about Sean but due to spring break we were unable to get a response either by phone or email. We were told that they are working on our request.

For more updates on this story, follow Erica Simon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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https://abc13.com/texas-teacher-shortage-cyfair-isd-moore-elementary-school-2022/11657483/ Family Says CFISD Students With Autism Expelled From School Program Due To Teacher Shortages

Dais Johnston

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