Student Claims She was Sent Home on TAKS Test Day
POSTED: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 6:37pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 7:16pm
Last month, we spoke to students and EPISD personnel who told us Principal Jesus Chavez of Bowie High School edged students out of school.
Although no one from EPISD has ever spoken to us on camera, they tell us these allegations are untrue.
Now, another student says her name was on a list to not come to school the day of the TAKS test.
Angelica Mendoza attended Bowie High two years ago. She says Principal Chavez wouldn't let her advance with her class.
"My second year of doing my freshman year, I had some sophomore classes and some freshman classes but I was never able to take the TAKS test," Mendoza said.
Mendoza says teachers had a list of student names who were told they wouldn't be coming to school during TAKS testing days.
"Two, three days before or even a day before the TAKS test started they would pull us aside and let us know who was able to come back half day or who didn't have to come back at all," Mendoza said.
She says taking the TAKS test seemed like a privilege, not a requirement.
"It seemed like more you have to earn it in order to take it instead of just taking it when you're supposed to," Mendoza said.
According to Mendoza, after Dr. Chavez told her and her mother thaty they would each have to pay $500 in court fees to be able to enroll, she decided to leave Bowie.
"I decided to give up, that I wasn't going to be repeating freshman over and over so they can keep their grade levels up or their scores up," Mendoza said.
We also spoke to Cezar Diaz, who told us he was enrolled as a student at Bowie this school year. He says Principal Chavez told him that he had people spying on him crossing the bridge to Juarez and that if he didn't drop out he and his family would have to pay up to $1,000 in court fines.
"He just told us that you were crossing the border and you can't be here anymore. He told us that he had persons in the border seeing which students came to Bowie High School," Diaz said.
We introduced you to former Bowie employee Linda Hernandez Romero last month. She told us that truancy officers were used to get rid of students, not keep them.
"The truant officers let the principal know who the students are or photographed them. Then the principal takes it upon himself to contact the student, bring them in and tell them to withdraw," Hernandez said.
The United States Department of Education will begin its investigation Monday.
Already, the department has asked for:
-A list of people who make business decisions on behalf of the high schools
-The overall grade point average for each class, each year
-District level and school level policies and procedures for TAKS testing and retention
-Funding sources for salaries, bonuses, and pay increases for EPISD administrators for school years 2006-2009