ENNIS (CBSDFW.COM) – Shabrekia Richardson loves to sing. After church on Sunday afternoons, she puts a few chairs on her porch and sings for her father. But lately, she said, she has not been feeling like herself. “My throat is kind of hurting and I’ve been coughing a lot,” said 16-year-old Shabrekia, who is a junior at Ennis High School.
The family got a letter from the Health Department on Friday, saying that Shabrekia had tested positive for tuberculosis. Shabrekia was screened for tuberculosis on Wednesday after, she said, one of her teachers at school came down with the disease. “When they gave me the news that I tested positive, I started crying,” Shabrekia said.
Tuberculosis is transmitted through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Ennis Independent School District Superintendent Barbara Qualls posted a letter on the district’s website, saying that the screenings are done and had resulted in “a higher than hoped level of positives.” CBS 11 News wanted to talk to Qualls, but she would not give out any information about the testing or students who have tested positive for tuberculosis.
“We don’t have control over it ourselves, just me and my daughter, but the school could have done something to prevent this,” said Shabrekia’s father, Wendell Richardson Jr. He believes that the school district should have started the screenings earlier.
Shabrekia will have to go to the doctor to get chest x-rays. Her father will have to be tested as well, and so will her new baby sister. “I have to find a ride, pay for gas — money I don’t have,” said Wendell. “I don’t have the resources to take care of this.”
Shabrekia is hoping that her singing is not impacted and, more importantly, that she did not spread the infection to anyone else.
Superintendent Qualls said that any parents who have concerns should contact the Ennis ISD on Monday.