Katy ISD pushes back on child abuse coverup allegation

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With Lt. Governor Dan Patrick calling for an independent investigation of alleged child abuse within Katy ISD the District is now pushing back claiming they have been treated unfairly in Fox 26 coverage.

Meantime, parents of potential victims continue to speak out.

  Gerald Smith is still beside himself three months after eyewitnesses said his son was among a half dozen disabled children physically mistreated and emotionally abused at Katy ISD's Randolph Elementary.

"He's adamant that the teacher scratches him and pinches him scratches and pinches him and he's said the same thing over and over again in the last week," said Smith of conversations with his son about what happened at Randolph last Spring.

"Investigators should have investigated, period. They didn't talk to our kids, they didn't talk to the witnesses, they didn't talk to the parents," added Smith.

After declining multiple interview offers and facing a credibility crisis Katy ISD sent a letter to thousands of student households claiming Fox 26 had been selective in its reporting of the District's responses. Parents of potential victims like Smith were quick to counter.

"Our kids were treated unfairly. Our kids were the victim. Katy ISD is not a victim," said Smith.

In the letter, Katy ISD claims its investigation focused on cell phone video gathered in the Randolph special needs classroom.

The District says that footage, reported to be just a few minutes long, contained no evidence of abuse according to police and CPS investigators. Fox 26 has never viewed the video or even referred to the footage in its coverage, as wrongly claimed by Katy ISD.

"They are completely deflecting what actually went on," said Chris Diaz, father of a potential Randolph victim.

  What the Katy ISD letter does not tell parents is that two paraprofessionals who were in the classroom, days at a time, claim in statements made to the District that children as young as three were mocked, roughly handled and placed in restraints as punishment by the classroom teacher

  As Fox 26 reported, these witnesses were purposely not interviewed by Katy ISD police, prompting Lt Governor Dan Patrick to call for an independent state investigation.

"We have been looking at this story in Katy and this may bring up new legislation," said Patrick.

Parents of potential victims welcome the arrival of state investigators.

  "I think they will find that the procedures were broken, the safeguards were broken, the protocols to protect the children were broken. They have these systems in place and they weren't followed," said Heather Lovell, mother of two potential victims at Randolph.

Smith says he's lost all faith in Katy ISD.

"They are shoving it all under the rug. It seems like they are trying to protect their reputation versus our kids," said Smith.

At the request of Fox 26 Katy ISD Superintendent Lance Hindt issued the following statement:

"We respect the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor and look forward to sharing with him, and any other state entities he may deem appropriate, the information that has been available to us and other investigating agencies involved in this case.  After having conducted independent investigations, Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Katy ISD Police Department found no evidence of physical abuse.  We are told that CPS updated and reopened the case with the additional two claims that had been made after the principal contacted the parents to make them aware of the initial report made by the school.   Again, CPS found, in all instances, no evidence of physical abuse.  As with CPS and Katy ISD Police, the school will cooperate with, and accommodate any agency that may reopen this case for the purpose of another investigation."