Carter in the classroom

School Closure Leaves Parent Frustrated In Garland

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Garland ISD is shutting down its campus that caters to students who learn differently. Parents said the school has been a huge success for their kids. 

Sarah Broome's son, Jace, loves to learn and spend time on campus at school. It wasn't always that way, though.

"He was in a regular campus in a special ed program and he was biting and wasn't doing well," said Broome.

Jace's teachers suggested he transfer to Pathfinders Achievement Center. It's a school with about 30 students, each who learns uniquely and needs teachers trained to help them learn.

"These teachers are so patient. They have a passion and they know how to tap into these kids and bring them out of their shell. He's so much more vocal now. He has so many programs you would never see on another campus," said Broome.

Jace and his peers will see another campus soon. Garland ISD announced they're closing the school, based on the latest research which shows a secluded school environment isn't best for learners like Jace.

"We have to prepare them for the real world, careers, and life. We're committed to providing a smooth transition for all of our students. We know based on research that it's important for students to be with their peers," said Sherese Lightfoot, spokesperson for Garland ISD. "They need to see, hear, interact with other students to be prepared for life."

It's not a new argument and there is a lot of data out there that supports it. But tell that to Broome, who watched her son be bullied and misunderstood on a mainstream campus, teachers overwhelmed with a class filled with students now having to cater to one who behaves in ways he can't control.

"When he has meltdowns, he has a tendency to throw things, use objects, bite," said Broome.

Garland will move the teachers from Pathfinder to the other campuses, but they don't have more specific plans just yet.

Broome said doing this after the pandemic is just too much and is begging the district to reconsider the timing.

"Each kid is in a different emotional area and right now is not how to do this," said Broome.

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