NISD teacher, staff union calls for change following death of instructional assistant

Alfred “Mr. Fred” Jimenez, 73, died after he was injured by a student; Bexar County Medical Examiner rules death a homicide

SAN ANTONIO – The union that represents teachers and staff in the Northside Independent School District is calling for change following the death of an instructional assistant who was seriously injured in a classroom at Brandeis High School.

Northside AFT said the incident speaks to a worry that “nags at educators” in NISD and across the state.

Alfred “Mr. Fred” Jimenez, 73, died at a hospital 10 days after he was injured on Feb. 7 in a class of students with severe learning and emotional disabilities.

“The injury occurred while the employee was attempting to redirect a student. In the course of the interaction with the student, the employee fell to the floor and sustained a head injury,” said district spokesman Barry Perez.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner has ruled his death a homicide.

“The matter remains under investigation with NISD Police the lead investigator. Our PD is in collaboration with SAPD,” Perez said. “The task at hand is to gather facts regarding this tragic incident and prepare a thorough investigative packet for the District Attorney. It will then be a matter for the DA’s determination.”

Northside AFT released a statement on Wednesday saying they waited to comment out of respect for Jimenez’s family and because of their own “frayed emotions.”

“With the recent release of information from the medical examiner’s office, however, Northside AFT must speak on behalf of our members, several of whom have expressed their desire for justice for Fred, his family, and the Brandeis community. Justice, in such a devastating time, requires that we have difficult conversations and that we assign blame where it is due,” Northside AFT officials said in a statement.

Union officials said that every educator deserves to feel safe just as every student deserves a safe learning environment but said that cannot be achieved with current state funding.

“The villains in this story sit in the governor’s mansion and the state Capitol, far away from the consequences of their continual undermining and endangerment of our schools,” said Melina Espiritu-Azocar, president of Northside AFT.

Espiritu-Azocar called for the following changes to be made at the district and state levels:

  • robust training for all staff members in de-escalation techniques
  • adequate staffing levels in all student support positions, particularly those who support students in our self-contained special education classrooms
  • widespread access to mental health support for staff, students, and families
  • comprehensive safety protocols tailored to the unique needs of each classroom setting

“While we cannot erase the pain of this tragedy, we must come together as a community to honor Fred’s memory by taking meaningful action to safeguard the well-being of all educators. We owe it to Mr. Fred, and to every educator who dedicates their lives to nurturing and supporting our students, to create environments where they can thrive without fear,” Espiritu-Azocar said.

KSAT reached out to NISD officials for a response to Northside AFT’s comments.

Read the full statement from Northside AFT below:

WATCH: Former NISD instructor shares what she endured after instructional assistant dies from serious injury by student

About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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