Parent files lawsuit against Harlandale ISD for alleged special education violation


A former Harlandale ISD parent has filed a lawsuit against the district.

Erica Eckols claims Harlandale ISD administrators violated an item known as 'Child Find' under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It requires school districts to have a set process for identifying and evaluating children who may need special education and related services.

Her son, Arturo Garcia, is now in third grade and continues to struggle. She says he has mental and learning disabilities that have been diagnosed by multiple doctors.

"It would have put him in the programs that he needed. It would have gave him a fair chance to an education," said Eckols.

She says she provided documentation to show he had special education needs and required the extra help but an evaluation was never conducted.

“He was legally diagnosed as disabled for his mental disabilities that they over looked even though they were aware because I provided them documents from his doctor stating his mental issues," said Eckols.

"It was basically me signing these documents, 'hey this needs to be done, my son needs help' and them agreeing to it but then it never getting done so eventually that’s when my complaints started going up the ladder," said Eckols.

After filing a complaint with the TEA, an investigation was conducted. Documents show the TEA's investigation concluded on June 15, 2017 and Eckols received a report on their findings. Investigators determined "noncompliance and required corrective action."

"He can’t read. He can barely write. These are things that had he been given the programs he needed when he needed them, that whole two years could have been utilized to get him progress but it wasn’t and now he’s delayed," said Eckols.

Eckols say the district then offered weekend help to her son but nothing within weekday school hours was made available, according to Eckols.

We contacted a Harlandale ISD spokesperson for comment and they responded with this statement:

"Harlandale ISD is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. HISD is not able to comment on matters involving a specific student without the consent of the student’s parent or guardian due to federal law which makes that information confidential."

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