Katy special ed abuse allegations draw no charges from grand jury

- Following months of investigation, Katy ISD parents and their special needs students learned allegations of abuse will not trigger criminal charges.

Monday prosecutors called parents to say a Ft. Bend County Grand Jury found insufficient evidence to warrant indictments.

The allegations from parents included serial abuse of disabled kids, failure to report suspicion of abuse and obstruction of justice.

It has taken intervention by the Texas Rangers and more than a year for the actions taken at Katy ISD's Randolph Elementary to reach the Ft. Bend County Grand Jury.

Ivana Smith's son was among at least five students believed to be victims of severe mistreatment.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the laws were broken and the facts are there," said Smith.

As reported by FOX 26, multiple families filed CPS complaints against the same special ed teacher last summer. Those allegations were supported by eyewitness accounts from classroom aids who reported the teacher pulling hair, wrenching limbs and strapping students into a "thinking chair" as punishment.

One paraprofessional said "she feared for the safety" of the students, most of whom were non verbal, and all of whom were between the ages of three and five.

"The reality is at the end of the day this could happen to any children and our children are not throwaway kids," said Christopher Diaz whose son was subjected to what Katy ISD called "inappropriate teaching techniques".

Also under scrutiny was Randolph Principal Kristen Harper who was made aware of the abuse concerns by witnesses, but waited weeks to notify law enforcement and parents. Legal experts say even the suspicion of abuse must be reported within 48 hours.

Katy ISD contends Harper broke no rules and its 1-day police investigation was appropriate. The special education teacher resigned.

Regardless of the Grand Jury decision, parents of children mistreated at Randolph are demanding change.

"We don't want this to happen to any other children. Our life has been in disarray for the past year and we just want to make sure no families have to go through this," said Ryan Linton whose son was among those alleged to have suffered mistreatment at Randolph.

Claiming the district had not yet received notification of the Grand Jury action, a spokesperson for Katy ISD declined comment.

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