Further discussions of what organizers are calling "systemic illegal referrals of students to CEP/alternative disciplinary education on the basis of forged government documents" at Reagan High School will be just one of hot-button agenda items tonight at a suddenly called meeting of "over 100 Reagan High School students and their parents."
In announcing the meeting, attorney Maria Elena Castellanos along with activist Maria Narvaez have a litany of complaints about not only Community Education Partners, but the workings of Reagan High School and the district itself. Among them:
"...illegal school suspensions; the tainting of criminal investigations by HISD police officers, violent threats made by Reagan HISD police officers against Reagan high school students; allegations of abusive language used by Reagan HS administrators against Spanish-speaking parents; violation of 'due notice' and 'due process' rights of students on a systematic basis; contaminating the Reagan HS school environment with a feeling for fear, suspicion and intimidation by the unwarranted public 'display' of hand-cuffing and removing good students from the school assembly areas and from school classrooms,; other numerous violations of students' and parents' rights to access school records; denial of access to legal procedural rights; disruption of a wholesome learning environment by abuses of authority by HISD police and by negligent school administrators."
What seems to have churned discontent into outrage was an event on Friday, December 4 when the Reagan senior class president and several other students were handcuffed and removed from the campus. Another student was ousted on the following Monday. Parents complain that they weren't advised their children were being investigated nor that they were being arrested and charged for an alleged off-campus offense.
According to the press release, the arrests stemmed from an accusation made by a member of the "Perruchos Gang," who accused the students of going to his house "to commit burglary and assault." The press release alleges that this gang member made the accusations "to divert police attention away from accuser's own criminal activity."
And they still want to know who kidnapped and killed Reagan High School teacher Mr. Perales.
Anyhow, if you want to hear about it first hand, the group is meeting at the Heights Public Library, 1302 Heights Blvd., from 5-6 p.m. tonight before joining in a caravan over to the school board's regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.
We've asked HISD for comment and will update when we get it.
Update: HISD spokesman Norm Uhl called to say that the investigation and warrant came from the Houston Police Department and HISD police had nothing to do with any of that. "It was an HPD case and it's standard procedure that HPD brings the arrest warrants and allows our officers to bring the students to them. That's our only involvement in it," Uhl said.
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As for the other complaints and allegations, Uhl said he and other HISD employees are looking into them.
Second Update: Uhl called back to say Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier wants the allegations looked into. "He's particularly interested in what exactly happened in terms of the arrest of these students and how the communications with parents was handled. Any irregularities will be handled promptly and properly," Uhl reported.
Uhl went on to say that the students were never sent to CEP and that they were back in school at Reagan this week."They got suspension for a time while the principal looked into the charges and then they were brought back to school."