Special needs teachers speak out at Northside ISD meeting after death of instructional assistant

SAN ANTONIO – A Northside Independent School District board meeting turned into a call for action Tuesday night after several current and former special education teachers filled the meeting to voice their frustrations and concerns.

“When was the last time any of you were hit by a student?” asked a teacher during a public comment.

Many others had similar questions and detailed their experiences in special education classrooms.

“There would be hitting, chasing around the room, spitting, punching, and kicking,” said another teacher during public comment.

NISD special education teacher Lana Taylor said she doesn’t feel teachers are supported.

“I had to go out and buy myself gloves to keep my hands from being scared anymore and go buy a face shield to keep my face being scratched,” said Taylor.

Those who spoke during public comment said the death of NISD instructional assistant Alfred Jimenez shouldn’t have happened.

It’s not clear exactly what happened, but NISD officials say Jimenez sustained a head injury while trying to “redirect” a student in a class of students with severe learning and emotional disabilities.

“The blame does not lie with the students. The blame does not lie with the teachers. The blame lies in the lack of funding and the lack of resources that our schools continue to have, and we look to the state of Texas for that,” said Melina Espiritu-Azocar, president of Northside AFT, a teachers’ union.

Espiritu-Azocar said that members want more training and staff in classrooms on top of additional state funding.

School board members said, per protocol, they would not address concerns brought up in public comment but did say they were listening.


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John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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