GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – A public hearing about the Grand Prairie Independent School District’s budget turned into a lively discussion about the district’s special education program Tuesday night, with board members and superintendent Susan Hull getting an earful from parents.
The first to speak was Kristina Carrion, the mother who contacted Consumer Justice about the district’s evacuation plan for her daughter. Carrion says she was told six men would use a disposable stretcher to carry Dezirae, 13, down the stairs in an emergency. The sixth grader’s special education classroom is on the second floor at Truman Middle School.
Carrion repeated her concerns to the board, saying the evacuation plan is impractical and puts her daughter at risk every day. Consumer Justice found more than a dozen other districts use evacuation chairs that require only one user. Prices for the chairs typically start at $1,500; the mat GPISD assigned to Dezirae is $26.89 online.
Carrion mentioned the money in her plea to the board, asking for better options for all GPISD special needs students. “How can GPISD pay Susan Hull $412,000 for her job that she’s so proud of, not to mention a $150,000 bonus, and $700,000 home,” said Carrion. “Yet my daughter has a $26 mat that looks like a body bag.”
Then she spoke directly to the superintendent, saying, “You can smile and smirk all you want because you don’t understand what we go through.”
Dezi Carrion, Dezirae’s father, also took on Hull. “It’s not safe for [Hull] to be at her house, but it’s not safe for my daughter to be in her situation.” Board members are allowing Hull to move out of the district-owned home she rents, saying she is uncomfortable with the attention caused by the controversy.
Several other people echoed the concerns laid out by the Carrions. “I left the district for a lot of these reasons,” said Danae Daniel. “After watching this tonight, I’m glad my kids are gone.”
“If I was in their position… I understand why they are here,” said Malcom Chakery. “I would want my child to be on the first floor, or I would want that chair.”
School board members said they heard the message loud and clear. Board president Burke Hall addressed Hull during the public hearing. “I’m going to ask your administration to contact these families and come up with a solution.” Hull said she would make sure it happened immediately. “Safety is number one,” said Hull. “We’re not perfect; if we made mistakes we’ll correct them.”
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