Texas charter school International Leadership of Texas Katy K-8 (“IL Texas”), located in Katy, Texas, has a stated mission to strengthen the “body, mind and character” of its students. In the case of the six-year-old, autistic son of basketball greats Angela and Ray Weathers, however, the school wholly failed to uphold these ideals. The Weathers reported to the school and the police that their child has been a victim of physical and sexual abuse by two separate teachers employed at IL Texas. The school also appears to have ignored the child’s special needs, placing him with teachers with no experience, room accommodations, or training with regard to differently abled children.
The Weathers were mortified when their disabled six-year-old came home from school on August 26, 2021, and the underwear he left home wearing that morning were missing. This was immediately reported to school officials, including his two teachers; however, no adequate investigation, if any, was conducted at that time in violation of the school’s own policies regarding potential violations of federal law and perceived inappropriate sexual conduct. Eventually, following uncharacteristic behavior, digestive tract issues, and stomach aches, the Weathers’ son confided in them and his primary care physician that he was inappropriately touched in the genital area by one of two primary teachers at IL Texas.
Then, towards the end of September, nearly a month after the initial reports of inappropriate conduct, the Weathers’ son was found alone in the school’s hallway by a special education aid. He reported a second incident involving his other homeroom teacher who had struck him in the stomach and in the jaw. This event was also immediately reported to the school. This teacher admitted to having no experience or training with regard to autistic children, and her classroom was not geared towards accommodating the needs outlined in the child’s existing individualized education program that IL Texas agreed to follow.
During a phone call between the parents and the sub-principal, the school tellingly would not reveal any information it had received concerning the Weathers’ child. Indeed, no incident report or results of any investigation have ever been provided to the Weathers, and the school continues to withhold any potential video evidence of the events that may shed light on what transpired.
“These sorts of ‘hide-the-ball’ tactics are precisely the type of evidence we believe indicates IL Texas cares more about protecting its assets than its special needs students,” said Attorney Nuru Witherspoon, hired by the Weathers family to represent the child’s interests in anticipated federal litigation. “Schools should be forthright with parents and aggressive in promptly investigating all instances of reported wrongdoing, but instead, in this case, the stories from the school keep changing.”
The Weathers have since instigated an investigation of these incidents by the local police, as well as involving Child Protective Services. The Witherspoon Law Group is filing an administrative complaint with the Department of Education to satisfy exhaustion of remedies requirements, pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), prior to filing an anticipated federal lawsuit for disability, race, and sex discrimination and harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act. A civil rights claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 will also be included.
“We take the abuse of our society’s most vulnerable extremely serious and will aggressively pursue justice and monetary relief for the Weathers and their special needs, six-year-old son,” said Attorney Witherspoon. “We plan to hold IL Texas accountable for its inaction, failure to accommodate, and abuse – schools should be nothing short of a mainstay for the safety of all children. When they fall short and children are victimized, they must be held accountable for such egregious conduct.”
The Witherspoon Law Group handles high profile serious injury, wrongful death cases, and civil rights cases. For more information, contact Attorney Nuru Witherspoon at 1.866.491.2130.